FOUR NAPS UP OUT OF FIVE: Shamrock struggled to find any Irish-breds yesterday and his losing nap spoiled the run of Speed Master (WON 4-9), The Real Article (WON 5-4), The Minack (WON 11-4) and Sword Of Destiny (WON evens).

Can he make the Cross over to fences? That’s the question mark today over Peddlers Cross, who got closest to Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle.

Now’s the time to find out if he takes to chasing: if he doesn’t, there is still time left to return to the smaller obstacles before Cheltenham.

But you wouldn’t dare even whisper such a thing to trainer Don McCain about an Arkle favourite he has described as ‘the horse of a lifetime.’

McCain blinkers Cool Mission (2.10) which, since the gelding is a front-runner, is likely to set him alight some more.

That might set the race up for the stamina horse Incentivise, with the Richard Lee stable in good form, and with a capable boy taking 5lb off his rating, so that he gets more than a stone from the paper favourite – another blinkered first time – Nicto De Beauchene.

Incentivise is only 5lb higher than for his marathon course win a year or so back. His form when fresh is PP1, so it’s a turn card today: win or bust! The signs are good on the Betdaq market this morning; he had taken over top spot last time I checked.

Meanwhile, Paul Nicholls launches a really fine Irish-bred, winner of an Irish Point which has proved top class: Ruben Cotter (1.20) is a noble individual who is high on my list of horses to follow. Fingers crossed.

NAP: Ruben Cotter (1.20 Exeter)
NEXT BEST: Incentivise (2.10 Bangor)
DAQ DOUBLE: Ruben Cotter (1.20 Exeter) and Incentivise (2.10 Bangor)

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