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Nina's On The Fringe is sure to cut it at Down Royal

By Ron McKnight

The Silks Hunter Chase promises to be the Boxing Day highlight at Down Royal with the Enda Bolger-trained On The Fringe taken to follow up success in the race last year.

Last season's showdown was a cracker with the Bolger horse beating local hero Tammys Hill which subsequently won the Cheltenham Festival Foxhunters, reversing form with third placed On The Fringe.

The selection, owned by JP McManus, will again be partnered by Nina Carberry and gained compensation for defeat at Cheltenham when claiming the Punchestown Festival Champion Hunter Chase.

Ballymena trainer Ian Ferguson is doubly represented in the race with James, which bounced back to form when winning on his seasonal debut in points at Moira, while Walden is unraced since winning a Downpatrick Hunter Chase in May on good ground.

Oscar Barton and Sole Witness look the principal dangers to On The Fringe with the former winning four in a row prior to defeat by the Colin McBratney-trained Marito at Kirkistown. The local handler is also responsible for Sole Witness which was denied by James at Maralin.

Luska Lad warrants each way consideration having won a point to point last time but finished runner-up to Oscar Barton on his penultimate start.

Empire Of Dirt, Down Ace and Drumlee stand out in the opening EBF Beginners Chase.

Drumlee, another McManus-owned runner, this time trained by Charlie Swan, could prevail and open his account over fences.

In the handicap chase, Personal Shopper, Robyn Rua and One Cool Clarkson will all be battling for a home win.

Personal Shopper is trained in Ballyclare by Harry Smyth and is good each way value.

Mystical Dreamer and I Knew Well appeal in the maiden hurdle. I Knew Well was runner-up to Sir Abbott on his penultimate start while Mystical Dreamer is from Gordon Elliott's all-conquering stable.

Silverbridge-based father and son duo, Sean and Noel McParlan, are enjoying a run of success in local point to points and Drumlee Lad, which made a winning debut in points at Fairyhouse in May, could repeat the feat in the Dark Horse Hurdle.

The Elliott-trained Sandusky should be favourite despite being absent since October 2012 when trained by Sir Henry Cecil and making his hurdling debut. The horse is owned by top football agent Willie McKay.

Delegate looks the likely favourite in the concluding bumper but No Dice should win.

TODAY'S DOWN ROYAL TIPS: 12.30 Drumlee 1.00 Personal Shopper 1.30 Oscar Barton 2.00 I Knew Well 2.30 Drumlee Lad 3.00 Court Jester 3.30 No Dice

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