*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
This can be narrowed down to three serious contenders, and much will depend on which of them adapts to hurdling most effectively. Law Ella and Battling Bessie bring strong credentials from bumpers, but DEEPLY SUPERFICIAL, an expensive purchase after winning a maiden point, may prove superior.
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Stepping up in trip over fences could lead to a better round of jumping than we saw from THEDEVILSCOACHMAN on his last outing over fences. A 6yo who looked better than ever when last seen in February, he appeals most against some useful rivals. Sams Profile is difficult to weigh up as he returns from a layoff and could improve for the run, so chasing debutant Churchstonewarrior might be the biggest danger to the selection.
With his confidence boosted from a recent Listowel success, MICA MALPIC should be able to handle this step into deeper waters. Conditions will be more testing than last time at Listowel but he won on very soft ground as a 3yo in France. Deadheat shaped well on his recent comeback and commands respect, while Flash De Touzaine, Real Steel and Farceur Du Large all hold obvious claims in a competitive handicap.
FOLLOW THE CROWD (NAP) got the job done nicely when opening his account last time at Roscommon and looks to have been found a suitable race to double his career tally. He has form on soft ground and should be effective at this trip around here. King Ferdinand should be on the premises if this isn’t coming too soon after his win ten days ago and Sanibel Island is in excellent heart but must cope with stepping back up in grade.
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This is weaker than one would expect for a race of this type. JACK IN THE BOX can make a winning start to the season at the expense of Favorite Moon, a very useful Flat performer at his best and off the mark over hurdles at the second attempt. Friendly Star is worth considering on his French chase form.
AFFORDALE FURY looked a classy prospect when winning a bumper here 26 days ago and could take some beating if making a seamless transition to hurdling. Monbeg Park ran to a solid level in bumpers last season and is the clear danger if taking to hurdling well, while Sam’s Choice has experience on his side but looks in a better race than last time at Downpatrick.
John Ryan’s smart chaser Grange Walk is of definite interest here, but preference is for recent Fairyhouse second THE THE DASHER CONWAY. Mount Brown has youth on his side and may improve from a Tipperary run. Blanketontheground shaped quite well in two Listowel outings.
An impressive winner of a maiden point, MEL MONROE may prove too strong for Coastguard Lady who can be expected to show the benefit of her introduction over C&D. Fox In the Park did not get the best of runs first time out at Tipperary and may reverse form with I Am Shadow.
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
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