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James is the name to follow


Davy Russell will be in action at Downpatrick today

Davy Russell will be in action at Downpatrick today

Davy Russell will be in action at Downpatrick today

The progressive James, trained in Ballymena by Ian Ferguson, could supply the best bet on today's Downpatrick card in the concluding hunter chase.

The youngster has won both his point to point starts in recent weeks and despite making his course debut against more experienced rivals is taken to score.

The principal danger could be another locally trained runner, Highly Unlikely with Newry trainer, Liam Lennon's horse having won five points and been contesting open grade points.

Loch Dara winner of a Wexford hunterchase last time and Harpor are another pair with solid claims.

Rasco third to Cheltenham Festival bumper winner, Briars Hill on his hurdling debut last month at Wexford is taken to account for Royal Captain and Regula in the opening EBF maiden hurdle.

Arnaud represents team Ryanair and the winner of his last two starts over fences but reverting to hurdles will be a short price to supply top jockey, Davy Russell with a winner at the meeting in the Christmas Hurdle.

Diyala trained by Gordon Elliott is preferred to Seskinane to complete the forecast.

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The mares maiden hurdle looks a very open affair. The majority of runners are from the point to points but Definite Elegance has a favourite's chance based on track form but Fromdollarstoeuros trained by Edward Harty and partnered by Andrew McNamara could offer the value bet while the locally trained points winner, Without Wings could hold place prospects for Liam Lennon's stable.

Afram Blue can follow up Limerick success last time in the handicap hurdle. Allez Vic, Nell's Nan –runner-up at Downpatrick last time – making her handicap debut and Red Clue appear the pick of the remainder.

The beginners chase is another wide open contest and it could be best to rely on Kylecrue, a winner last time over hurdles at Clonmel.

Cheap as Chips beaten over the course in October looks the danger while very popular handler, Michael Winters sends Silver Chief up from Cork with each way claims.

B L Swagger following three attempts over hurdles makes his chasing debut for Margaret Mullins and jockey, Danny Mullins.

Hold Em Cowboy won well over hurdles at Navan and the former point to pointer trained by Gordon Elliott tackles fences in the handicap chase with Ruby Walsh a notable booking.

Imperial Joey a previous course winner and Araglen Lad a Gowran winner on his penultimate start look to be providing the principal dangers.

TODAY'S TOP TIPS: 12.05 Rasco 12.40 Arnaud 1.15 Fromdollarstoeuros 1.45 Afram Blue 2.15 Klyecrue 2.45 Hold Em Cowboy 3.20 James

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