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Keith's Shepherd King is set to reign at Downpatrick

By Ron McKnight

The Shepherd King rules the value bets at Downpatrick's rescheduled fixture, which fell victim to the weather earlier this month.

The Shepherd King is trained in Armagh by Keith Watson, who has booked in-form jockey Andrew Lynch for the job.

Le Grand Chene looks the likely favourite having finished runner-up on Ulster National day at Downpatrick last week and is trained by Gordon Elliott, the leading handler at the track for the past two seasons.

Pointview Gale enters calculations having won a Down Royal hunter chase on St Patrick's Day while another local runner, Personal Shopper - representing Ballyclare handler Harry Smyth - runs well over this course and is consistent.

Runyon Rattler, Concience, Areema and Ontopoftheworld form the shortlist in the opening maiden hurdle with the last named - trained by Arthur Moore - just preferred to the locally trained Areema which ran well at the Maze recently.

Canadian Steel - trained beside the course by Brian Hamilton - could have place prospects and registered success at the last fixture.

Trainer Gavin Cromwell is enjoying an excellent season and recorded a Grade One winner for JP McManus at the Fairyhouse Festival this week with Jer's Girl.

Cromwell's Midnight Theatre, if repeating her effort when runner-up at Punchestown on her penultimate start, can claim the Supporting Irish Injured Jockeys Mares Hurdle at the expense of the locally trained pair Milan Dancer and Steel's Cotton.

Downpatrick Racecourse officials will today present a cheque for £25,000 - raised at a Gala Ball - to the Irish Injured Jockeys fund.

Noble Call, having been denied by half a length at the venue last time, has major claims in the handicap hurdle.

However Boris Boru showed promise when third at Down Royal and, if handling the undulating track, could account for the favourite and provide another local winner, being trained at Dromore by Sarah Dawson.

The Elliott trained Authorised Cadeaux, despite being supported to favourite, finished one from last at the course recently and Shabra's Bertolini makes more appeal as an each way prospect.

Aminabad and The Winkler make most appeal in the highly competitive Toals Bookmakers Aintree Chat After Racing Beginners Chase.

The former has been tackling superior company but makes his chasing debut while the later was a good runner-up to Fine Theatre at Gowran and gets preference.

Trainer Elliott can further enhance his record at the course in the concluding bumper with Bingo Conti, despite a year's absence.

Bel Sas and Ramore Will have each way claims.

TODAY'S DOWNPATRICK TOP TIPS: 2.55 Ontopoftheworld 3.30 Midnight Theatre 4.05 Boris Boru 4.35 The Shepherd King 5.10 The Winkler 5.40 Bingo Conti

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