Ash Tree Meadow must enter calculations

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NAP: Ash Tree Meadow can win at third attempt

Ash Tree Meadow – 13:05 Navan

Ash Tree Meadow stepped up on the form of his hurdling debut when third in a big-field maiden at Leopardstown on Boxing Day, sticking to his task well to pass the post only eight and a half lengths behind Sir Gerhard.

That form sets the standard in this line-up and the small ‘p’ attached to Ash Tree Meadow’s Timeform rating denotes that he is likely to have more to offer, particularly now stepping up to two and a half miles (also fitted with a first-time hood/tongue strap). He is fancied to see off a couple of interesting hurdling newcomers to open his account at the third attempt.

NEXT BEST: Back Ain’t That A Shame to shine

Ain’t That A Shame – 14:50 Navan

Ain’t That A Shame has made an encouraging start to his chasing career and he showed useful form when filling the runner-up spot at Leopardstown last month, proving no match for Galopin des Champs but deserving credit for emerging as much the best of the rest (pulled 16 lengths clear of the third).

There is nothing in the same league as Galopin des Champs in opposition here and Ain’t That A Shame is certainly up to winning his fair share of races over fences. This looks a good opportunity for him to get off the mark, very much the pick on Timeform ratings even before factoring in his scope for more improvement.

EACH-WAY: Damalisque can defend his crown

Damalisque – 13:40 Navan

Damalisque has failed to trouble the judge in two starts this season, but he shaped well on his reappearance at Naas in November and it’s probably worth putting a line through his below-par effort at this course last time, with the modest gallop meaning nothing held up managed to land a blow.

Damalisque drops back in trip here and it’s entirely possible that this valuable handicap hurdle has been his target all along given how well he won the corresponding race 12 months ago. The official winning margin then was seven and a half lengths and his rider only resorted to hands-and-heels riding, so a 12-lb higher mark this year looks far from insurmountable if getting back on an upward curve.

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Author: wpadmin

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