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Dublin: 4°C Monday 19 April 2021
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Mark your Card: your best bets for today's Grade racing

Declan Smyth takes a look at today’s only Grade race, the Leamington Novices Hurdle at Warwick.

Image: INPHO/James Crombie

A LULL IN Graded racing before the next two weekends’ feasts leaves us with just one race to preview this afternoon.

At Warwick the Grade 2 Leamington Novices Hurdle sponsored by Neptune Investment is seen as a good trial for the same sponsor’s Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham. Only seven have been declared for this year’s renewal over 2m5f. The going at present is described as soft and with the possibility of more rain or snow, it doesn’t look like improving.

Hold Court has won his two hurdle races in fine style. However both were on good ground and while he did win a bumper on soft ground, it was a poor race over 1m6f and this might be a step too far for him. Mickie won a mares’ hurdle by a wide margin at Ludlow and though she gets all the allowances here, she doesn’t look good enough.

Timesishard, Minella Definitely and Kitegen all look outclassed so it looks like it might boil down to The New One from the Twiston-Davies team and Jonjo O’Neill’s Dursey Sound.

The New One has won five of his six races with his only defeat coming in the Cheltenham Bumper at last year’s festival; even then he finished a respectable sixth, just six lengths off the winner Champagne Fever.

He followed that up in the Aintree Bumper with a victory over the highly regarded My Tent Or Yours. His two hurdle victories (from two runs) have cemented his position among the novice hurdlers and he impressed on his last run in October when showing a turn of foot and willingness to battle at Cheltenham over this trip.

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Dorsey Sound was bought for £60k after finishing second in a Galway bumper. He then won his maiden and a novice hurdle before finishing runner up behind Easter Day in a novice hurdle at Ascot. He was a bit one-paced at the finish that day and possibly will be seen to better effect over three miles.

It’s a difficult one to weigh up but THE NEW ONE, whose trainer feels he didn’t have the ideal preparation in the run up to his only defeat, might just have the speed over this trip to get the win.

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Declan Smyth

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