Merchant to take advantage of drop in class

MERCHANT ROYAL is a token nap choice in the Kedrah House Stud Well Chosen Novice Hunters Chase, on what looks a difficult card for punters at Tipperary tonight.

A race of this nature is not normally something you would associate with an inmate of Dermot Weld’s, but he trains the seven-year-old for his son, Kris, and shouldn’t be far away.

Successful in a point-to-point, Merchant Royal was thrown in at the deep end at the Punchestown festival.

He contested one of the hottest hunter chases of the season, won by the tough Salsify, and really could make little impact.

Merchant Royal, however, blundered badly at the fifth and quickly found himself shuffled back to the end of the field.

He did make significant progress through the final mile, but couldn’t close down the leaders and was given an easy time of it and pulled up when it became clear wasn’t going to be competitive. This is a far easier assignment and the selection might be worth a minor wager.

Hired Hand gets a hopeful nod in the Point-To-Point Evening At Tipperary Maiden Hurdle. He’s not the most reliable of sorts, but has gained a nice bit of experience over flights.

The five-year-old ran well on the flat at Roscommon ten days ago, fifth to the gambled-on Secretsubstitute, and that was encouraging enough to entitle him to the vote in this modest heat.

Bahrain Storm is the best horse in the Glenview and Rathbarry Studs Beginners Chase and can deliver, if putting his best foot forward. Winner of the Galway Hurdle in 2009, he was second behind the very smart Overturn in the same race last year. Bahrain Storm has had a pop over fences and warmed up for this with a spin on the flat at Leopardstown last month.

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