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POWERFUL TED hasn’t raced over hurdles in more than a year, but he’s developed into a useful performer on the Flat during the intervening period, producing his best effort when last seen finishing third in a valuable handicap at Leopardstown in September.
He now makes the switch to handicaps over hurdles and will command plenty of respect from an opening mark of 105, which looks potentially very lenient judged on the pick of his form on the level.
TEAHUPOO made it three-from-three over hurdles with an impressive victory in a Grade 3 over this course and distance in February, quickening clear on the run-in to land the spoils by 7 lengths (had plenty in hand).
That form comfortably sets the standard here on Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings, while the small ‘p’ attached to his rating denotes that he is still open to more improvement as a hurdler. This looks an excellent opportunity for him to maintain his unbeaten record on the way to bigger and better things.
LYNWOOD GOLD shaped well when sixth on his handicap debut at Punchestown last month, showing more than enough to suggest he is on a fair mark. He was held up in the early stages and still had plenty of ground to make up three out.
But, the way he finished his race was certainly encouraging, reducing the deficit all the way to the line without being unduly punished. Still totally unexposed over staying trips, he can race from the same mark as last time and is well worth a chance to confirm that promise in a first-time tongue strap.
THE BOSSES OSCAR shaped better than the bare result when second in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham last time. He was forced to race wide throughout and did well under the circumstances to be beaten only 5 lengths behind Mrs Milner, who was getting 17lbs from The Bosses Oscar.
That was a smart performance which suggests The Bosses Oscar is capable of making an impact at this level, while his record of run-to-run progress this season suggests he may yet have even more to offer. The 5lbs he receives from chief market rival Beacon Edge could just tilt the balance in his favour.
FAKIR D’OUDAIRIES has taken his form to another level on his last couple of starts in Grade 1 company, filling the runner-up spot in both the Dublin Chase at Leopardstown (8 lengths behind Chacun Pour Soi) and Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham (12 lengths behind Allaho).
The quick turnaround after Cheltenham is a slight concern, but there is no doubt he rates the one to beat if running up to his best in this Grade 2, lining up over the same course and distance as when making the breakthrough at the top level in last season’s Drinmore Novice Chase.
RUN WILD FRED remains a maiden over fences, but demonstrated that he is on a fair mark when chasing home stablemate Coko Beach in the valuable Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park in January. He wasn’t fluent at the final two fences, but still finished powerfully to get to within 4 lengths of the winner – keeping on in the style of one who will relish a marathon test.
He rates a fascinating contender in a typically competitive renewal of this prestigious handicap, with the booking of Jack Kennedy suggesting he is the first string from the Denise Foster yard, too.
THE GUNNER MURPHY gained his sole career win in a Galway bumper back in October 2017, but he has shown plenty of ability over obstacles and left the impression his turn could be near when second in a novice chase at Down Royal last time.
Making his first appearence after 13 months on the sidelines, he stayed on well to be beaten only 6 lengths, shaping as if the return to 3m here will be in his favour. Still relatively lightly raced as a chaser, he is potentially well treated from a mark of 120 and could be the way to go in a wide-open finale.
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