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Jim Dreaper can Lord it at Down Royal

By Ron Knight

The May Day holiday meeting at Down Royal has attracted a of top trainers and jockeys.

The Jim Dreaper trained Lord Fingall can supply the banker bet in the Hunter Chase with top Banbridge rider Steven Clements, who registered further success at Punchestown last week, booked to ride.

The selection has won his last three starts including two Hunter Chases, one at Downpatrick.

Illusion Of Time finished third in that race and was unlucky at the previous Maze meeting, unseating his rider when appearing a major contender with the race being won by Flynsini which again is in today's field.

Lord Fingall looks a progressive sort and if handling today's softer ground can account for Illusion Of Time which has another top local amateur, Declan Lavery, in the saddle today.

The feature Handicap Chase is a competitive affair and Make A Track, runner-up in the contest last year, carries top weight for trainer Gordon Elliott who is doubly represented with Riverside City, winner of the Ulster Grand National at Downpatrick, also engaged and the early bookies' favourite.

Make A Track ran well at the Cheltenham Festival when beaten eight lengths in a Grade 3 chase and the trainer has amateur rider Barry O'Neill taking three pounds off the top weight.

He's Our Man filled third over a shorter trip at the Down Royal Festival meeting in October and Butney Boy has claims but might prefer faster ground while another local runner, Leighinmor, won a Clonmel Beginners Chase but took a fall on his recent start at Perth.

Morney Wing has failed to live up to his early reputation but appears to be coming back to his best and won a Novice Chase at Limerick last time after competing at a higher level earlier in the season and should appreciate conditions today.

Only six are declared for the Sean Graham Hurdle but it is a tricky event.

Trainer Tony Martin and Ruby Walsh combine with Marinero which was withdrawn at Punchestown due to faster ground and looks the likely favourite.

Knights Parade won at Downpatrick and the locally trained pair, Ground Invasion and Killultagh Sarah, have claims but Fine Theatre, which holds Wrath Of Titans on form, gets the vote to provide the value bet.

Racing gets underway with a maximum field in the Maiden Hurdle and Carried, Round Tower, Space Ship and the Tony Martin pair, Sarwistan and Whatsforyouwontgobyu, all have claims. However Space Ship, third in a good Fairyhouse event last time, gets the selection.

The Handicap Hurdle also attracts the maximum 20 runners and, while a weak race, it is tricky to nominate a winner with Lake Chapala, Bourbon Prince, Harry's Summer and Diesel Ten looking each way prospects.

Templepatrick owners Joe and Pat Sloan are doubly represented in the Beginners Chase at their local track with Flaxen Flare and Young Palm. The former is taken to win on his chasing debut for Gordon Elliott.

The concluding bumper is another maximum field with Last Encounter and Okotoks the standout form pair while Turfman's Daughter, And The New, Bellas Rock and Cerise Vole are the notable newcomers. However Steven Clements can double up on the Tony Martin trained Okotoks.

Belfast Telegraph


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