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TUNE THE CHELLO has made an encouraging start over fences and was in the process of running her best race yet at Listowel when last seen in September, but she suffered a luckless exit. She was looking booked for second, a long way clear of the third, but the leader fell at the final fence and knocked Tune The Cello’s rider out of the saddle. Tune The Cello has gone up only 2lbs and is still relatively unexposed as a chaser, so she looks capable of better in this sphere.
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KILCRUIT suffered a shock defeat on his debut over hurdles at Cork earlier in the month, but he is entitled to take a big step forward with that experience under his belt, while the step up in trip might also suit a horse who was at his most impressive in bumpers when the emphasis was on stamina.
Kilcruit was Timeform’s highest-rated horse in bumpers last season, winning a Grade 2 at the Dublin Racing Festival and a Grade 1 at the Punchestown Festival either side of finishing runner-up to stablemate Sir Gerhard at Cheltenham. He is clearly blessed with plenty of talent and he can leave his hurdles debut behind.
SHEWEARSITWELL has not been seen since landing a Grade 3 novice hurdle at Tipperary in October last year, but fitness is rarely an issue for runners hailing from Willie Mullins’ powerhouse yard. The unbeaten Shewearsitwell completed a hat-trick at Tipperary, making it two from two over hurdles after also winning a bumper. She looked potentially smart when cruising eight lengths clear on the bridle and she has more to offer.
It took RUN WILD FRED nine starts to get off the mark over fences, but he did so in style at Navan last month – winning the prestigious Troytown Handicap Chase by seven-and-a-half lengths. Run Wild Fred had ended last season on the up, finishing runner-up in the Thyestes and in the Irish Grand National.
But, he raised his game again in the Troytown, showing very smart form that is a notch above what his rivals have achieved. A reproduction of that sort of form will make him tough to beat back in novice company.
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SHARJAH has won the last three editions of the Matheson Hurdle and has strong claims of making it four in-a-row. He looked better than ever towards the end of last season when chasing home Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle and Punchestown Champion Hurdle.
He also didn’t have to be at his best to register a smooth success in the Morgiana Hurdle on his return at Punchestown last month, taking his Grade 1 tally to five. He should be spot on with that effort under his belt and is clearly effective over this course and distance. He should prove difficult to beat in this one.
SHANTOU LUCKY shaped with promise when third at Fairyhouse last month, moving like a horse on a fair mark. He raised his game slightly to score at Punchestown last time, staying on to lead on the run-in.
Shantou Lucky only won by a neck, but he was value for more having been held up in a race that was run at a modest gallop. The third has since won, giving the form a boost, and Shantou Lucky can defy this 7lbs higher mark.
THE NICE GUY made a successful debut at Fairyhouse last month, beating Santonito by two-and-a-quarter-lengths, and that form has been given a boost as the runner-up was only narrowly denied in a Leopardstown bumper on Monday.
The Nice Guy, the choice of Patrick Mullins, is entitled to improve for that initial experience and looks worth siding with for his powerful connections (Willie Mullins has won the other three bumpers at the meeting this year).
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