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Selection Box looks right for Ulster National

Crossgar trainer Colin McBratney has never won the Ulster National but may do so with Selection Box at Downpatrick tomorrow.

Selection Box finished third in last year’s race and earlier in this season seventh in the Thystes Chase at Gowran Park.

He seems to be running into his best form and McBratney is sweet about his chances.

McBratney says: " Who will forget last year when Chief Oscar won the Ulster National but tragically died shortly after passing the post.

“The day was marred because of that but it has to be said that Selection Box put up a huge performance under top weight."

McBratney has another runner in the race in Jack Finch who won on 5 occasions for Edward O'Grady, but will be running for McBratney for the first time.

Jack Finch has the sort of form which makes him the obvious choice,but Selection Box who has already won at Downpatrick, is a course specialist and if he should win there wouldn't be a more popular winner for McBratney has a large following in the area.

Ballymena trainer Ian Ferguson fancies his chances with Bally Wall who was second to Chief Oscar, beaten a neck in last year’s ill-fated race.

Bally Wall has been trained specially for the race and was third at Musselburgh last time out.

Ballymak is trained by Gordon Elliot, a trainer having a great run this year, and will be one of the fancied hopes while Dessie Hughes will be looking for a big run from First Row.

In addition, Omagh trainer Mervin Torrins who has a good record at Downpatrick, runs Hughies Grey who was second last time out and never runs a bad race.

Noel Meade is responsible for Sigma Lifestyle who was fourth in last year’s Ulster National and obviously handles the course well. In addition Meade has a good record at Downpatrick where he is particularly good at winning the bumper.

Sigma Lifestyle will be fancied in the Ulster National but Meade will have a better chance in the opening race with Kid Curry.

This horse was second at Down Royal earlier this month and would have to be supported in the maiden hurdle.

In the mares novice's hurdle, Willie Mullins may score with Riltree while Sounds Of Thunder is likely to go close for Gordon Elliot.

Jim Lambe has a high success rate at Downpatrick and Breeze With Ease may win the Peter Meegan Memorial Handicap Hurdle. Philip Rothwell will also go close with Jack's Island who was second last time out.

In the bumper Rothwell will also be involved with Ample Appeal.

First race is at 2.15pm.

Selections: 2.15 Kid Curry, 2.45 Riltree, 3.15 Breeze With Ease, 3.45 Selection Box, 4.15 Call Box, 4.45 Ample Appeal.

Belfast Telegraph

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