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Key questions as Dan McGrue aims to continue his rise up the ranks

Paul Nicholls: expecting a big run from Dan McGrue
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1.50 Newbury
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Can Dan McGrue fire again for Nicholls?

Revitalised by a wind operation over the summer, Dan McGrue will be looking to continue his progression for champion trainer Paul Nicholls in this £40,000 contest.

Dan McGrue was second on his comeback at Plumpton and then went one better back at that track in a strong race, the form of which is working out particularly well with runner-up Acey Milan finishing second in a Grade 3 at Haydock last Saturday.

"He's been transformed by the wind op this season and won well at Plumpton last time," said Nicholls, who took this race with Old Guard two years ago.

"He'll love the ground and hopefully has a good chance in a competitive race."

Will Henderson follow up last year's win?

Nicky Henderson does not appear to have the same class of last year's winner Champ but still holds strong claims with a three-strong team.

Nico de Boinville partners unexposed handicap debutant Downtown Getaway, with the Henderson team completed by topweight Soul Emotion and The Cashel Man.

Nicky Henderson: "Downtown Getaway will like the ground and has been going well"

The trainer said: "Downtown Getaway will like the ground and has been going well. Soul Emotion had a problem after Ascot last December. We put him away afterwards and this is his first run back. He's a good horse. The Cashel Man has enjoyed a bit of a break and returns in good form."

Can Longsdon work his magic with classy pair?

Charlie Longsdon saddles a pair of interesting contenders with Snow Leopardess, a Grade 2 winner at this track in 2017, returning for her first start for more than two years and Jenkins making his stable debut.

The trainer said: "Snow Leopardess had a foal and has been off for two years. She seems in good form and while she'll improve for the run, it's a good starting point.

"Jenkins has been a good horse on his day. It's not straightforward trying to improve a horse from Nicky Henderson, but he's had a wind op and goes there in really good form."

What the others say

Dan Skelton, trainer of Peter The Mayo Man
The more the ground dries out for him the better. We're going back up in trip with him. I fear the ground may be too soft.

Alan King, trainer of Mr Pumblechook
I hope he will be competitive. He should have come on for his reappearance fourth at Plumpton, is on a fair mark and is suited by this two and a half miles.

David Pipe, trainer of Nordic Combined
He has been running well and appreciates soft ground. The step up in trip should suit him.

Fergal O'Brien, trainer of Pride Of Lecale
He goes on any ground but it's a case of the softer the better for him. He won well last time when splashing through the puddles at Market Rasen and we're looking forward to running him. Connor Brace's 3lb claim brings him into the handicap, so that's ideal.

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He's been transformed by the wind op this season and won well at Plumpton last time
E.W. Terms