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Maxwell will aim to be a flying success in the Foxhunters

 

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Main fancy: David Maxwell will ride Shantou Flyer

Main fancy: David Maxwell will ride Shantou Flyer

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Main fancy: David Maxwell will ride Shantou Flyer

David Maxwell, who looks odds-on to retain his amateur champion title, has opted for Shantou Flyer - rather than the Aintree-bound Bob and Co - in the Foxhunters Chase on the concluding day of the Festival.

Ulsterman Maxwell's mount finished runner-up to Hazel Hill in last year's running and this is the race he has set his heart on winning.

Chosen Dream, who is trained in Templepatrick by Graham McKeever, was pulled up in the race last year prior to winning the Foxhunters at Stratford and will be giving it another crack with local champion rider Noel McParlan in the saddle.

Billaway was runner-up in a top-class hunterchase at Down Royal on Boxing Day to the Fermanagh-trained Dylrow and the pair line up again today with trainer David Christie optimistic of a good performance.

The owner, Belfast businessman Ray Nicholas, has already been in the Cheltenham winners' enclosure this week with Ravenhill a victor during the opening session.

Maxwell also partners Cat Tiger in the Bartlett Novice Hurdle sponsored by Ronnie Bartlett, who sponsors at every Ulster point to point.

Clan Des Obeaux finished runner-up in the Down Royal Festival feature in November, while Delta Work came fourth behind Road To Respect - however, the Gordon Elliott-trained horse has won his last two starts and reversed form with the winner and gets the vote to deny last year's victor Al Boum Photo in the Gold Cup.

A Wave Of The Sea won on the flat in May at the Maze and opened his account over hurdles at last year's Festival for trainer Joseph O'Brien, who is doubly represented in the opening Triumph Hurdle.

The Nicky Henderson-trained Rathill disappointed when favourite at the Down Royal Festival but still has claims in the County Hurdle, sponsored by Crumlin company Randox.

Irish Champion trainer Willie Mullins is mob-handed in the race with five and Buildmeupbuttercup, ridden by his nephew Danny Mullins, is an interesting candidate. The trainer has landed the handicap three times in recent years.

Chosen Mate is another product of the points circuit having won a race at Templepatrick for trainer Colin McKeever at his home venue and, now trained by Gordon Elliott, has claims on his first handicap start in the Grand Annual.

Everybreathyoutake was third over hurdles at Down Royal last year while Great White Shark was a major disappointment on the flat at the local venue last season. Ilikedwayurthinkin could supply the icing on the cake in the finale for JP McManus.

SELECTIONS: 1.30 A Wave Of The Sea; 2.10 Buildmeupbuttercup; 2.50 Janidil; 3.30 Delta Work; 4.10 Shantou Flyer; 4.50 Chosen Mate; 5.30 Ilikedthewayurthinkin

Belfast Telegraph