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Stand Four-square with the Lad

By Jimmy Walker

Trainer Gordon Elliott is tasting a lot of success in his cross- channel raids and is becoming somewhat the man to follow.

Elliott who was formerly with Tony Martin has picked up a lot of Martin's methods and they seem to be paying off.

That being the case Elliott should be on the mark at Down Royal on Boxing Day when Four County Lad runs in the Adam and Ann Armstrong Memorial Handicap Chase.

Four County Lad was beaten into second place by the John Carr-trained Ballito at Musselburgh and it wouldn't take much of an improvement on that form to win on Wednesday.

Four County Lad will be ridden by Joey Elliott and should be hard to beat in a race which hasn't thrown anything outstanding.

Mayne Kidd will be hopeful of at last getting a win out of Drumnavaddy Lough who was up with the leaders at Downpatrick on Friday before fading into third place.

Once again Jackie Kidd has the mount who will be wearing blinkers for the first time and this may make a difference. Jackie, along with trainer James Lambe as well as Elliott, has been making waves in racing in Scotland and the north of England but strangely, she hasn't won at home.

Kidd could go close on Wednesday but it's hard to see Four County Lad being beaten on his most recent form.

Larne trainer Roy Wilson landed something of a coup when Killyglen made all the running in an Ayr bumper last month.

Killyglen has since gone back to Ayr only to find the course was frozen.

So Wilson is taking an alternative engagement at Down Royal and will be hard enough to beat in the Stallion Owners Maiden Hurdle in which Killyglen will be ridden by Stephen Clements.

Carrick Dhu who was second at Ayr, is trained by Ian Ferguson who expects an improved run and he too could go close.

In addition, Arthur Moore who has become something of a deadly raider when having runners at Down Royal, has an interesting runner in Hidden Agent who was fifth at Navan at the beginning of the month behind Forpadydeplasterer.

In the Thoroughbred Breeders Hunter Chase, the one to be on is Agus A Vic trained by Pat Martin and ridden by Newry jockey Jason McKeown. Agus A Vic has looked very impressive when winning in the point to point field and is likely to be something of a hot favourite on Wednesday.

Two horses he has to beat however are Big Zoomo trained by Sean McParlan and ridden by McParlan's son Noel, and Climate Control who was a decent course winner and looked like Cheltenham material at that point.

Down Royal Boxing Day: 12.30 Very Effecient, 1.00 Killyglen, 1.30 Bella's Baileys, 2.00 Zaffman, 2.30 Four County Lad, 3.00 Agus A Vic, 3.30 Hafak.

Belfast Telegraph

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