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A wide-open 2m 4f mares’ beginners chase and I am going to side with one of the two 10-year-olds in the line-up and that is Avellino.
This horse was third at Fairyhouse on its recent run when not disgraced only beaten three and a quarter lengths in a similar contest, after making a couple of errors in the closing stages of the race. Adam Short rode that day but top jockey Robbie Power is on board now and I expect Dermot McLoughlin’s runner to be bang there at the finish.
A 2m 4f handicap chase where Whoyakodding looks to follow up a Chase win at Tramore on New Year’s Day but I fancy An Marcach for Des Donovan. He has been third on his last four starts, when staying on very strongly the last day in a similar race at Punchestown.
Course and distance should suit and has the assistance of Rachael Blackmore on board who has had four winners from her last 13 rides (a 31% strike rate) and has been placed on her last three rides at big prices. She is riding well and if there is more improvement from An Marcach, he should be hitting the places at least.
Course and distance form is going to play a major part in this contest and American Image can follow up a win here three starts ago. He was third last time out when making a bad mistake two out where jockey Aileen O Sullivan unfortunately lost the irons which hampered her chances.
She’ll be hoping to stay intact this time and the veteran American Image has enough to win a race of this nature.
The finale on the card is a 2m 4f maiden hunters chase, where Saint Benedict was second in a similar race last time, only beaten a head. I fancy Complete Sizing to go well. This horse hasn’t seen the track in nearly a year when a very disappointing eight, when not jumping fluently before weakening close home. Top amateur jockey Jamie Codd is sticking with him and he has won on six of his last seven rides for a 71% strike rate.
He wears first-time cheekpieces which should bring out some improvement as well.
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