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Ellmarie Holden's EX PATRIOT has struggled to get his head in front since scoring on his first start for the upwardly mobile handler, however, he has run with credit when finishing fourth in the Triumph Hurdle and picking up bonze medals in a trio of top hurdles contests. He is reunited with Rachael Blackmore in the saddle here and the combination could be back to their winning best with the horse having shown no signs of regressing when chasing home a resurgent Jezki last time. Meri Devie was well touted last winter and created a taking impression when scoring on his debut for Willie Mullins last Christmas. She could be the main danger here following a break and receives an allowance from her rivals. The Gigginstown pair have to be considered with Delta Work having scored in style at Punchestown last time, while Duca De Thaix won on his last two starts in France and is an interesting newcomer for the Cullentra House handler Gordon Elliott, who saddles both.
MERI DEVIE was well held in France in the spring but had shown very useful form when reaching the frame in Grade 1 company at Leopardstown and Punchestown prior to that and is probably the one to beat on her return. The useful Ex Patriot could perhaps be the one to give her most to do unless the market speaks in the favour of Gordon Elliott's French recruit Duca de Thaix.
|Year||Going||Ran||Winner||Draw||Age||Weight||OR||Form||Last run||Trainer (Distance)||Jockey||SP||Time|
|2016||Yielding - Soft||4||Missy Tata||4||10 13||-||124-111||34 days||G Elliott (35 miles)||K M Donoghue||13/8||4:02.60|
|2015||Yielding - Soft||4||Gwencily Berbas||4||11 8||-||9R3119||241 days||A Fleming (17 miles)||A P Heskin||6/5||3:58.70|
|2014||Soft||5||Kitten Rock||4||11 3||-||12112-4||189 days||E J O'Grady (95 miles)||R Walsh||7/2||3:52.50|
|2013||Yielding - Soft||4||Diakali||4||11 10||-||1241-21||153 days||W P Mullins (44 miles)||R Walsh||4/6||3:48.40|
|2012||Soft - Heavy||8||Jezki||4||10 13||-||118-51||12 days||Mrs J Harrington (17 miles)||B J Geraghty||13/8||4:13.10|
|2011||Yielding - Soft||6||Unaccompanied||4||11 0||-||112-142||6 days||D K Weld (17 miles)||P Townend||1/2||4:05.20|
|2010||Soft||6||Alaivan||4||11 7||-||11213-0||199 days||E J O'Grady (95 miles)||A J McNamara||8/11||3:52.80|
|2009||Heavy||7||Torphichen||4||11 7||-||41196-2||38 days||E J O'Grady (95 miles)||A J McNamara||5/1||4:13.00|
|2008||Soft||8||River Liane||4||11 4||-||33P210||242 days||T Cooper (178 miles)||N P Madden||6/1||4:15.30|
|2007||Good||11||Migmatite||4||11 4||-||274021||9 days||J E Kiely (86 miles)||D J Casey||10/3||3:59.60|