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Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: B. J. Cooper Age: 7 Weight: 11st 12lbs
High-class hurdler. C&D winner. 14/1, respectable 13¾ lengths fourth of 8 to Honeysuckle in Punchestown Champion Hurdle at this course (16f, good to soft). Won this last season.
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Trainer: Joseph Patrick O’Brien Jockey: M. P. Walsh Age: 8 Weight: 11st 12lbs
Smart chaser. Career best when winning 5-runner Lismullen Hurdle at Navan (20f, good to soft, 4/1) 7 days ago by 6 lengths from Sire Du Berlais, forging clear. More needed again.
Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: Mr P. W. Mullins Age: 8 Weight: 11st 12lbs
Won a third successive Matheson at Leopardstown in December. Best of the rest when second to Honeysuckle in Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and Puchestown. Won this in 2018 and set the standard.
Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: Davy Russell Age: 4 Weight: 11st 12lbs
Smart hurdler. 8/13, career best when winning 5-runner WKD Hurdle at Down Royal (16.9f, soft) 16 days ago by 8 lengths from Cask Mate, keeping on well. This tougher but must be respected.
Echoes In Rain
Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: S. F. O’Keeffe Age: 5 Weight: 11st 5lbs
Smart hurdler. Didn’t need to be at best when winning 5-runner Champion Novices’ Hurdle at this course (16.4f, good to soft, 8/13) by 3¼ lengths. Off 6 months. Remains capable of better still.
Timeform Verdict: SHARJAH looked better than ever when runner-up in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and Punchestown in the spring and has no Honeysuckle to deal with this time. His stablemate Echoes In Rain rates a high-class prospect and is the obvious threat ahead of last year’s winner Abacadabras.
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