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Formscan By Eamonn Murphy - With Mick Darcy up for the first-time and fitted with cheek-pieces for the initial occasion, the eye is drawn to BALLYBURKE. It was after a promising debut in a bumper at this track that the Tikkanen gelding sold to J P McManus. A point-to-point winner on heavy ground before ever seeing action on the racecourse proper, Ballyburke is two wins from thirteen starts in the famous green and gold. However he's always struck one as a horse that'll win a decent prize or two. He's still only seven so he very much still has time on his side and I for one will be disappointed if he can't make his presence felt now. Charlie Swan is another trainer to deploy cheek-pieces for the first-time, this time the 'aids' being applied to Start Me Up. With Brian Cawley claiming 7Ibs off his back, the son of that good stallion, Winged Love, definitely comes into it. Eric McNamara is likely to have Kerry National hero, Faltering Fullback well-primed for an assault on this prize. He's a course winner and others that have triumphed around here, Far Away So Close (in on St Stephen's Day too), Armaramak, Harpsy Cord, Jack Absolute, Sumkindasuprstar, Tullintain and Hans Cresent have to enter calculations as well.
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An extended handicap steeplechase for five yrs old and upwards rated 0-145
Weights - An extended handicap steeplechase for five yrs old and upwards rated 0-145
Riders - Winner of a steeplechase or steeplechases after calculation of the handicap shall carry any penalty or penalties which may be allotted by the Handicapper.
Probable SP 4/1 Far Away So Close, 5/1 Alf Wright, 11/2 Thouva, 6/1 Hans Crescent, 13/2 Quarryvale, 8/1 Sumkindasuprstar, 12/1 Harpsy Cord, Days Ahead, 14/1 Start Me Up, 16/1 Ballyburke, Jack Absolute, Armaramak, Monastrell, Faltering Fullback, 20/1 Tullintain, 25/1 Others.
2011 Seabass 8 10-6 Ms K Walsh 9/2Fav (T M Walsh)
2010 Questions Answered 5 9-11 S W Jackson 9/4Fav (E McNamara)
2009 Larkwing 8 9-7 R J Jones 11/2 (E McNamara)
2008 Nine O 11 9-9 B C Byrnes 14/1 (Patrick Neville)