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Andratx has sights set on completing a treble at Downpatrick

By Ron McKnight

Downpatrick chiefs have reverted to the original two-day meeting format for their June fixture and the track is being watered.

Sligo handler Mark McNiff is always a trainer to keep an eye on at the local venue and Andratx is taken to complete a hat-trick in the Novice Hurdle after winning both his latest starts, including at the course in March.

Those two triumphs have led Andratx to rise 20 pounds in the ratings, and his main threats appear to be What's The Plot and Dawn In The Park.

The latter is one of two runners trained by Joseph O'Brien and was a Clonmel winner last week, while the former - trained by Arthur Moore - opened his account last time out at Ballinrobe.

However, Andratx is capable of further improvement to overcome the stiff rise in ratings.

Glendine River - a Tramore winner last time out - looks one of the best bets on the card in the Mares Handicap Hurdle, while Veronica's Napkin could prove a bigger threat than Strike Is Back.

Harold Peto, with Denis O'Regan aboard, can account for Immortal Bridge and the locally-owned Major Destination in the Maiden Hurdle with Gordon Elliott's Polymath already having form at the venue.

Ben Button, representing Champion trainer Willie Mullins with Ruby Walsh in the saddle, could start favourite in a very competitive Corrs Hurdle despite a year's absence.

Weather Watch and ColdstoneSober have solid claims but Gordon Elliott - top trainer at the course for the past three seasons -has a trio engaged, including Vanishing Point and Akorakor. The latter is vastly better treated over hurdles than his chasing rating and can supply the best each way value.

The opening Maiden Hurdle attracts a maximum field.

Gleesons Tipp, Canny Tom, Great Khan, Oath Breaker and Atlantic Breaker form the shortlist with the Mullins-trained Sharp's Choice the likely favourite. Basilisk, trained by Joseph O'Brien, is a notable debutant over hurdles.

Ashjan and Kilkeaskins First filled second and third behind Station Closed at the track in May and appear the frontrunners in the handicap hurdle.

Ardview Boy was a solid second at the Maze, likewise Shek O Lad at Roscommon on Tuesday.

Blixit - a half-sister to locally-owned Champion Hurdler Hurricane Fly - looks a banker in the bumper with the Mullins-trained mare having to beat Osco Mosco and Decision Time.

SELECTIONS: 2.00 Great Khan 2.30 Glendine River 3.05 Harold Peto 3.40 Akorakor 4.15 Andratx 4.50 Ashjan 5.25 Blixit.

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