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The rest will be playing for places if THE GETAWAY STAR bounces back from a below-par run last time and she sets a very clear standard on form here. Roxanya was running a big race last time out before coming down and she could be the one to chase the selection home if she puts in a clear round.
This is more open than the first division and a chance is taken on SCHONE AUSSICHT. Her jumping should start improving and she’s already shown enough to suggest she might be able to win one of these before handicapping. Forgetthesurprise is hard to predict but posted one of her better runs last time and she ought to be in the mix if she builds on that.
Denise Foster probably holds the key to this race with her quartet of runners. Ardamir would be very hard to beat on these terms if he was anywhere near his best but there has to be doubts about that possibility given his recent starts. A chance is taken on stablemate PRESENTING DYLAN who didn’t jump well last time but his previous effort was a career best and he’s less exposed than most of these. Think Positive is another to consider with a return to hurdles sure to suit.
It’s hard to recommend any of these with a great degree of confidence. Baltic Moon is likely to be near the head of the market given his connections but he didn’t show a great deal on the Flat in Germany. Benbulben Boy can be forgiven his run last time on very testing ground and he’s high on the shortlist. However, it might be worth chancing KARAKHAN who was a fairly useful sort on the Flat and he was entitled to need his hurdle debut last month.
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Lightly-raced for her age, STRONG ROOTS (nap) is less exposed than many of these and makes plenty of appeal following her Wexford second. Recent Ballinrobe winner Strong Romero may continue on the upgrade. Ask David drops in trip after his second at Cork but seems versatile. Western Line has hinted at potential from time to time. Fair Minded has a chance on last year’s best from.
A beaten favourite over a longer trip here six weeks ago, CLONBURY BRIDGE may be able to recover losses judged on his previous Navan run. Last month’s front-running course and distance winner Rathnaleen Tou could go well again off a 10lb higher mark. Others to consider are Fredastare and Muyam Spirit.
Despite having failed to match market expectations at Downpatrick WESTERN COWBOY has plenty going for him in a maiden of this standard. As a 115-rated chaser who has been placed seven times over hurdles, Hesamanofhisword deserves to be taken seriously. Fox Watch and Mars Harper look best of the remainder.
Point-to-point winner My Immortal deserves serious consideration after going very close in a point-to-point bumper at Tipperary, but arguably there was more merit in the third placing obtained by MONISHTER ARE MWEE first time out in a 25-runner Punchestown contest. Champ Kiely has joined Willie Mullins from a top nursery. Hans Gruber shaped quite well first time out.
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