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CAUSE OF CAUSES, a half-brother to Derby winner Kris Kin, won over 1m3f in France and was still in with every chance of making a successful hurdling bow when falling at the last over this C&D last month. Providing that hasn't dented his confidence, he can get it right at the second attempt, possibly at the main expense of Don Leone. That latter is a confirmed Flat stayer who found only one too good on his NH debut over C&D but he clearly wants further. Pageboy and Maggie Neary have both shown ability on the level and warrant the utmost respect now tackling obstacles.
Double Double has found one too good on each of his last four starts and looks sure to be in the firing line but he may have to play second fiddle again, this time to ITS THE ICE I LIKE. This bumper winner has gone well on both hurdle starts, including his latest third in a 2m4f Fairyhouse maiden which has worked out very well. He weakened late on that day and should appreciate this drop back in trip. Shannon Spirit and The Ethiopian have also been knocking on the door and must be considered.
Luke's Benefit continues to run well in defeat but this hasn't escaped the attention of the handicapper and he has no margin under top weight. Seldom Fed is only 1lb higher than when narrowly landing a 2m5f Limerick contest last time out but that was 615 days ago and preference is for OWENNACURRA MILAN, whose 2m success at Thurles last week has subsequently been emphatically boosted by the third so a 7lb rise in the weights may not be enough to halt his progress.
Jack Absolute was very impressive when romping to a C&D success latest but his profile suggests he isn't forced to back that up today, especially off a 10lb higher mark, so the safer option appears to be the hat-trick-seeking LEAD KINDLY LIGHT. Sean Byrne's improving mare has gone up 15lb for her latest victory at Fairyhouse but she did the job with loads in hand and the fifth has franked the form since. Follow The Plan and Organisedconfusion have solid place claims.
GAGEWELL FLYER blotted his copybook when turned over at short odds at Thurles last month but he is entitled to have learnt plenty from that first experience of the larger obstacles and remains a decent prospect over fences. Willie Mullins' charge won a couple of Grade 2 events as a novice hurdler last season and he has a touch of class. The rest don't look anything out of the ordinary with only Three Way Bond and Prince Of Forwards coming into this in any kind of form, although both make their chasing debuts this afternoon.
VIKING SPLASH has been in good form recently and looks to hold the strongest claims this afternoon. The 9-y-o followed a couple of fine placed efforts when finishing fifth in a better race at Leopardstown last month and he looks to have been found a good opportunity here. Outlaw Pete comes into this on the back of a wide-margin success between the flags and will have his supporters as he dons the famous green and gold silks of JP McManus, with Agus A Vic also coming under consideration following his recent runner-up effort over 2m6f at Fairyhouse.
Hard to get a strong grasp on this given all of the runners make their NH debuts with point-to-point form in the bank. The market is sure to provide a valuable insight into what is expected of many but Gigginstown Stud wasted little time in snapping up TORN ASUNDER following his impressive point-to-point victory at Bennettsbridge last month and Gordon Elliott will be expecting big things from this impeccably-bred son of Presenting. Another with a debut success between the flags to his name is Buckers Bridge, who has his first run for Henry De Bromhead this afternoon, and he makes up the shortlist, along with Hatrick Harry and Saoirse Dun.
This has the makings of a decent maiden hurdle. There are some likely-looking Flat recruits - not least Maggie Neary - but a few of these have already shown a good deal of ability in this sphere. Of those, Cause of Causes looks the pick and is taken to see off Don Leone and Gentleman Duke.Timeform 1-2-3
Quite a well-contested maiden, with no fewer than 7 of these already placed in similar events. Double Double looks the pick on recent form and is marginally preferred to Its The Ice I Like and Shannon Spirit.Timeform 1-2-3
A handicap featuring a few unexposed sorts, but it may pay to concentrate on the more experienced runners, with Mount Welcome fancied to end a long losing run from the foot of the weights. Recent Thurles winner Owennacurra Milan is in rude health and looks a live threat, while Tequila Lord is another with sound place claims.Timeform 1-2-3
A handicap short on well-treated runners but perhaps The Sneezer can build on an encouraging run here last time to make it course win number 3. The unreliable Jack Absolute is on a career-high mark but can go close if on his best behaviour, while Marlay Park can stay on into a place if his jumping holds up.Timeform 1-2-3
Though turned over when odds on for his chase debut at Thurles, Gagewell Flyer should be all the better for that experience and ought to outclass these rivals. Chasing debutants Prince of Forwards and Three Way Bond can fill the places.Timeform 1-2-3
Not a vintage renewal of this hunter chase and it looks a match between Agus A Vic and last year's winner Viking Splash. The forecast conditions may well hinder the latter, so former Champion Hunter Agus A Vic is just preferred. Outlaw Pete could well prove to be best of the rest.Timeform 1-2-3
As ever in this type of race, the market should prove illuminating. However, as things stand the most appealing option is Torn Asunder who is taken to enhance both his trainer and jockey's excellent records in bumpers. Zekarya and Itsy Bitsy Spider are feared most.Timeform 1-2-3
As A P McCoy retires from the saddle, don't miss our special section which celebrates his remarkable career.
+ A P McCoy - Warrior Champion
+ Tributes to a champion like no other
+ McCoy and the National
+ Ten Great Partnerships
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