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We open on Sunday with the Ten Up Novices Chase over 3m and it has been a good guide to the Irish Grand National on Easter Monday. A small-but-select field, where Gordon Elliott’s Coko Beach arrives here off the back of an impressive win in the Thyestes Chase last month.
MR HENDRICKS brings some decent course form to the table having beaten Lord Royal and subsequent Punchestown Grand National Trial winner, The Big Dog, last time out. Forza Milan has a bit to find on form, but ran okay when fourth to Eklat De Rire in a Grade 3 Novice Chase at Naas – a race that could work out well. On balance, I just prefer Mr Hendricks to Coko Beach.
Paul Townend takes the ride on Robert Murphy’s mare DARRENS HOPE. She’s pretty consistent and while her rating of 127 isn’t shooting the stars out, her run at Listowel behind Telmesomethinggirl has been franked recently and she can deliver now. She should handle the ground too, which is another plus.
The Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle is the feature race on the card and dual Aintree Grand National winner Tiger Roll will be the star attraction on his first run this year. He’ll have to be at his best to win this – particularly given the ground conditions – but most of us will be looking on to see if he shows the same life and energy since being pulled up at Cheltenham in November as he hopefully prepares for another tilt at the Cheltenham Festival and Aintree Grand National in the coming months.
It’s a proper race though, with Beacon Edge, FRENCH DYNAMITE and Fury Road all involved. Meanwhile, Darasso and Scarpeta will be looking to bounce back to form as they all try to cement themselves as possible contenders for the Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle next month.
Mouse Morris’ horses are in great form and French Dynamite looks a good bet to turn over Fury Road at the likely odds, as there wasn’t much between them on their Leopardstown running at Christmas.
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The Grade 3 Novice Hurdle over 3m sees course winner Brazos step up in trip after winning last time out over 2m 4f. Paul Townend takes the ride for JJ Murphy. However, MINELLA ESCAPE looks the one to me for the Henry de Bromhead stable.
Gordon Elliott’s GINTO came to the track with a big reputation, but was beaten on debut at Fairyhouse by Willie Mullins’ Whatdeawant at Fairyhouse. I can forgive him that defeat, and he should handle the course and the ground conditions at a track that Gordon Elliott likes to have winners at. Ginto looks the one to beat.
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