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Cracking Plate ideal taster for the Derby

By Ron McKnight

The Magners Ulster Derby headlines Down Royal's Summer Festival and the opening night feature - the tote.com Galway Plate Trial - has attracted the best quality field since it's inception.

This evening's fixture should prove the ideal curtain-raiser to a great day of racing tomorrow, featuring the £100,000 showpiece.

First Lieutenant - trained by Mouse Morris, who won this year's Aintree Grand National with Rule The World - has been a regular contender in the feature chase at the Down Royal Winter Festival and has a crack at the Galway Plate Trial tonight.

Shanahan's Turn won the Galway Plate last year but could only manage fourth behind Ptit Zig at the track last October, however the winner of that novice chase triumphed in the French Champion Hurdle last weekend.

Yes Tom, trained by Stuart Crawford near Larne, finished third behind his stable companion Fine Rightly at the course on St Patrick's Day while Elegant Statesman - winner of tonight's feature last year - attempts a repeat following a second place at the course last month.

Shantou Flyer won two good chases at the end of last year and trainer Colin Bowe continues to produce track winners.

Kylestyle has won two of his last three races, both at the track, and with trainer Francis Flood having his team in good form and rising teenage star Jack Kennedy booked could offer the best each way value in the feature.

But Shanahan's Turn and First Lieutenant are the pair to beat.

The Gordon Elliott trained Clarcam has the locally trained Strongpoint as chief rival in the novice hurdle.

Listen Dear, handled by champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins, appears superior to rivals in the opener with Torcororo capable of completing the forecast.

Elliott is doubly represented in the beginners chase with Beau Et Sublime and former local pointer Baroque Style however Noel Meade's The Herd's Garden, with the going in his favour, can land the prize.

In the maiden hurdle, Don't Be Hasty, with Danny Mullins aboard, can provide local handler Nicole McKenna with her first success.

TONIGHT'S DOWN ROYAL TIPS: 5.45 Listen Dear (nap) 6.15 Don't Be Hasty 6.50 Clarcam (double) 7.20 Sarah Joyce 7.55 The Herd's Garden 8.30 Kylestyle (each way) 9.00 Robin Des Mana

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