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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 20 April 2021
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Mark your Card: your best bets for today's Grade races

Two intriguing Grade 2 races headline Navan’s card this afternoon. Declan Smyth takes a look at the form.

Voler la Vedette: can she get the new season off to a winning start?
Voler la Vedette: can she get the new season off to a winning start?
Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Lismullen Hurdle (Grade 2)

EIGHT RUNNERS HAVE been declared for the Lismullen Hurdle over 2m4f (1.45pm). With the advance going described as heavy, fitness will play a part in this contest.

Robin Hennessy has the rejuvenated Mossley here and having had the benefit of a couple of runs, the last one a winning one, he might run into a place if his trainer has kept him sweet.

If we were to take the form of last season’s World Hurdle literally, Voler la Vedette would be nailed on given that So Young tailed off in that race while Colm Murphy’s mare put up a great performance in defeat against Big Buck’s. The ground and distance probably didn’t help the Mullins horse that day and he was eased when his chance was gone. With ground more in his favour this afternoon, he should put up a big show.

Jessie Harrington’s Maller Tree made a winning reappearance when he beat Texas Jack over the trip at Naas. He could be an improver but it’s unlikely he’ll trouble the leading contenders.

VOLER LA VEDETTE is the one they all have to beat. She won this race last year and has the form, with her Cheltenham second to Big Buck’s the standout run. She’s taken to beat So Young and claim the €24,375 first prize.

Fortria Chase (Grade 2)

Only five runners have been declared for the Fortria Chase over 2m (2.50pm) but it does pose a few interesting questions.

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Big Zeb makes his seasonal reappearance here and having won the last three renewals, he will be fancied by some. However Father Time could be catching up on the 11-year-old, and despite his trainer saying how well he is, he might find one too good for him.

Realt Dubh returns to the minimum trip, having failed to see out the three miles of the JNWine Chase.

FLEMENSTAR looks to be the one they have to beat. Having run up a sequence of five wins in scintillating fashion last season, it would be foolish to oppose him.

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Declan Smyth

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