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Oscars out for redemption

Oscars Well aims to belatedly open his account for the season in a fascinating Keelings Irish Strawberry Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

Jessica Harrington's seven-year-old was a dual Grade One winner during his novice campaign and while he has failed to bridge the gap against the best hurdlers around so far this season, he has run some superb races in defeat.

He beat all bar Hurricane Fly in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in January and was not disgraced in finishing sixth in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on his latest appearance.

Harrington said: "He seems in good form and we're stepping him back up to two and a half miles, which should suit. It won't be easy, as he's got to give weight away to some good horses. I'm happy with him at home, so we'll let him take his chance and see how we get on."

One of his major rivals is Jonjo O'Neill's British raider Get Me Out Of Here. The JP McManus-owned eight-year-old has filled the runner-up spot on his last three starts and racing manager Frank Berry is hoping for a change of luck.

He said: "The conditions of this race suit him quite well and he always runs a blinder. Hopefully he'll do the same and it would be nice to see him get his head in front."

The other major supporting race to the Ladbrokes Irish Grand National is the Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Novice Hurdle, which has attracted a high-class field of eight runners.

Harrington is represented by Steps To Freedom, who scoped badly following his disappointing display in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

The trainer went on: "He seems to be in good form and like Oscars Well, he has to give away a bit of weight. I'm happy with him, he won his maiden hurdle at the track and the ground should be fine, so fingers crossed."

The William & Gladys Bourke INH Flat Race brings the card to a close and the potential star on show in that event is Gordon Elliott's dual winner Don Cossack.

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