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O'Brien will have sights set on Down Royal success



In the running: Joseph O’Brien has reason to be optimistic

In the running: Joseph O’Brien has reason to be optimistic

�INPHO/Morgan Treacy

In the running: Joseph O’Brien has reason to be optimistic

Today's St Patrick's Day fixture at Down Royal attracts maximum fields for several races.

With the three contests at Cheltenham normally restricted to amateur riders now not an option, several of the top riders will be at the Lisburn venue.

The Tom Taaffe-trained Goose Man, a course winner two years ago, could claim the featured Bluegrass Chase - formally a Grand National trial over three and a quarter miles.

The trainer's son, Pat, takes the mount, claiming a valuable 7lb.

Tout Est Permis, winner of the Troytown Chase in 2018, is the top-rated and looks a bigger threat than Joseph O'Brien's Top Moon, which takes a major step up in distance and last year travelled to Cheltenham for the Coral Cup.

Complete Sizing and Templeburn make most appeal in the Hunterchase. The former, trained by Jim Dreaper, is preferred, while the locally-trained Some Man could be in the mix.

The opening Maiden Hurdle has a maximum 20 runners, however Pont Du Gard, trained by O'Brien for JP McManus, showed promise on his Naas debut last month when runner-up and a repeat of that effort should be good enough.

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Homme D'un Soir can prove a bigger danger than General Moriviere, the latter another owned by McManus.

Golden Sunset, Wake The Giant, Sketrick, Pino Boy and Ballymadun - the latter not the most reliable of sorts - make most appeal in the Adare Handicap Hurdle, again a maximum field.

Golden Sunset, a winner at the track in January over fences and rated less over hurdles, could provide McManus with a double.

The Gunner Murphy represents trainer O'Brien and McManus in the Novice Handicap Chase, giving the leading owner a chance of a hat-trick.

However, the vote goes to Hesamanofhisword after a solid second at Leopardstown last time.

Stansfield, trained at Dundrod by Paul Traynor, won at the course in February prior to following up with two places.

The highly-regarded King Alex completed a hat-trick of wins over hurdles last year and, if forgiven, his start is sure to be involved. Southerner and The Echo Boy have place prospects.

Papal Lodge can land the Handicap Hurdle if accounting for Battle Of Actium and All About Joe, while Arthur's Baby - a Listowel Festival winner last September - should be noted.

Atlantic Adventure, Me Too Please, Presentingnewyork and The Mean Queen are the form quartet in the concluding Mares Bumper. Atlantic Adventure is just preferred.

SELECTIONS: 1.00 Pont Du Gard; 1.35 Golden Sunset; 2.10 Papal Lodge; 2.45 Hesamanofhisword; 3.20 Goose Man; 3.55 Complete Sizing; 4.30 Atlantic Warrior.

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