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Swiss has a weighty cross to bear in bid for four-timer

Swiss Cross (centre) on his last visit to Ireland when third at Laytown last year
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Swiss Cross has overcome lameness, advancing years and an aversion to Chelmsford on his way to completing a hat-trick around his 100th career start, but he faces another big obstacle at Dundalk on Friday evening.

There is not just the matter of 14 classier rivals and dropping back to five furlongs from six furlongs but also the Irish handicapper, who has been chastened by the last three British sprint challengers in Ireland all winning off their British marks.

Trainer Phil McEntee said: "He went up 7lb for winning last time at Lingfield but the Irish handicapper wasn't happy with that and has given him another 4lb so he is now rated 82.

"Off 78 he had to bring his A game but now off 82 he has to bring his A+ game but he is in the form of his life with his three wins and loves travelling."

Steve Jakes, the owner of Swiss Cross, seems to have hit upon a winning formula as after nearly a year without a winner five have come along in succession.

"I had 60 losers in that year and then bought some new suits and have been wearing different ones every time my horses have run," said the Epsom businessman.

It has brought five winners in a row with Swiss Cross seamlessly joined by his intended replacement Pearl Spectre with two wins.

The other common denominator has been apprentice Callum Shepherd, who will be bidding to make it four from four on the veteran after dead-heating in an apprentice handicap when he replaced Josephine Gordon who had ridden out her claim in her championship season.

Jakes has already given his friends and employees a Christmas bonus when he texted them about his 33-1 winner Pearl Spectre and he will be enjoying a long weekend in Dublin whatever Friday night's result.

Off 78 he had to bring his A game but now off 82 he has to bring his A+ game but he is in the form of his life with his three wins and loves travelling

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