Side with Kate

CHARLIE SWAN’S Stephanie Kate is the nap choice to make a winning debut over fences in the Strandhill Mares’ Beginners Chase at Sligo this afternoon.

The ground is set to ride particularly testing and the progressive five-year-old is certain to relish such conditions, which is a major plus.

She scored twice over flights last season, at Limerick and Fairyhouse, although losing the Fairyhouse race in the stewards’ room.

But it was her final outing of the campaign — at the Cheltenham festival — that was the real eye-opener.

The selection contested the Grade 2 David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle and produced a career-best effort to finish fifth behind the brilliant Quevega.

Swan will surely have her reasonably straight for this test and she very much looks the one to beat.

Traffic Article, who showed at Ballinrobe nine days ago that heavy ground holds no fears for him, can land the Martin Reilly Motors Hyundai 140 Chase.

He had a stiff task in that Ballinrobe contest, attempting to concede eventual winner Ainama 7lbs, and was far from disgraced in taking second, a length and a quarter adrift of that rival.

The mud-loving Kakagh, whose best effort over fences came at Naas last October when beating Lucky William, is an obvious worry.

Brian Nolan’s Fire Belt is the clear form choice in the Follow Sligo On Facebook Bumper, but an absence of just under a year is a concern.

He hasn’t been seen since failing by a short head to reel in Captain Paulie - twice a winner afterwards - at Cork, a heat he really should have won.

Fire Belt has a couple of other decent performances to his credit as well, so the hope is that the market will speak in his favour.

Shark Hanlon’s Ardglen attempts a spectacular four-timer (in ten days) in the Foley’s Bar and Off Licence Handicap Chase.

He’s won at Ballinrobe, Listowel and Clonmel last Sunday and has gone up a total of 17lbs.

Ardglen, however, still has 7lbs in hand compared to future handicaps and gets the nod.

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