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SCHIEHALLION MUNRO took well to chasing last season, winning three of his first four starts over fences and finishing runner-up on the other occasion. He went off too hard in front when sixth on his reappearance over two and a half miles at Wetherby in October, but he took a step forward, as expected, over the same course and distance the following month, shaping well in second.
Schiehallion Munro was shaken up on the turn for home but rallied well for pressure and gamely stuck to his task up the straight, offering plenty of encouragement that he could yet have more to offer over fences and that a 2 lb higher mark won’t pose a problem.
ARNICA ran no sort of race on his handicap debut at Carlisle in October and he didn’t fare much better at Newcastle in November. However, he was a different proposition at Kelso last time when finding only progressive stablemate Artic Mann too strong.
He may have been unable to fend off his stablemate, but Arnica stuck to his task well, pulling 12 lengths clear of the remainder in the style of a horse that is ahead of the handicapper. A 2 lb rise in the weights looks lenient and he could still have a bit more to offer over staying trips.
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NATIVE FIGHTER was progressive when with Jedd O’Keeffe and he has continued on the up since joining Jimmy Moffatt, running right up to his best when landing a handicap hurdle at Perth in August, doing well to prevail having been held up in a steadily-run race.
Native Fighter was only third at Doncaster last time but he shaped much better than the result would suggest, moving powerfully through the race before a lack of a recent run and the testing ground possibly found him out. He will be suited by this sounder surface and should give another good account under regular rider Charlotte Jones.
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