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Ballycasey can take advantage of drop in trip

Ballycasey: has his first run at 2m today
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2.55 Navan Fortria Chase | Grade 2 | 5yo+ | 2m | ATR

Ballycasey has not fulfilled the promise he showed early in his chasing career when he beat Don Cossack in a Grade 1 novice at Leopardstown, but he's been in good form in recent months and will be bidding for back-to-back wins at Grade 2 level in today's Navan feature.

Winner of the PWC Champion Chase over 2m4f at Gowran Park last month, the Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old has never raced over today's trip and speaking yesterday Mullins said: "We've been toying with the idea of running him over two miles and he gets his chance today. We tried to make a staying chaser out of him and now we're trying something new.

"He's been kept on the go in recent months and you'd like to think he will have a fitness edge over some of his rivals."

Gilgamboa, the other Grade 1 winning chaser in the line-up, failed to win last season but performed creditably on a few occasions including when finishing fourth in the Grand National.

Today's trip is well short of his optimum but his first win over fences came over today's course and trip on this card two years ago.

His trainer Enda Bolger said: "He hasn't run since Aintree but is ready to start back. We're hoping for a nice run and that he'll go on and progress through the season. The bit of rain they've had will be a help."

The Gordon Elliott-trained Cause Of Causes is another for whom the trip is likely to prove inadequate. His only wins over fences have been in long distance events at the Cheltenham festival where he won the National Hunt Chase in 2015 and the Kim Muir Chase earlier this year.

Elliott is also represented by Tell Us More and The Game Changer, who finished first and second respectively in a Grade 3 event over today's trip at Naas a week ago.

"Tell Us More came out of his Naas win in good form and we decided to step him in grade," said Elliott. "The Game Changer hasn't won for over a year but he's earned prize-money every time he's run since and hopefully he'll do so again."

Fago, formerly trained Paul Nicholls and having his first run for Paddy Griffin, and the Vincent Halley-trained Arctic Skipper, a course winner over 2m4f last season, complete the line-up.

He's been kept on the go in recent months and you'd like to think he'll have a fitness edge over some of his rivals
E.W. Terms