This looks a pretty hot Listed race and Black Key is probably up against it. But he was a fair staying handicapper on the Flat and has run some decent races over hurdles, and he did face a tough task in a Grade 3 at Thurles last time. However, he needs to improve a fair amount to be winning this.
We have four in this five-runner race and it wasn’t an easy choice at all, as they are all closely matched. But I sided with Ball D’Arc, even though he carries a 6lb penalty. He is getting his act together over fences now, winning a handicap easily off a mark of 133 and then winning well over 2m1f at Navan last time. Okay, that was only a three-runner race and the favourite fell, but the runner-up is a decent sort and he beat him by 19 lengths and coasted home. But I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised if I have picked the wrong one – Ball D’Arc has to prove he is as effective over this longer trip, even if he did finish second over it in a Navan handicap earlier in the season – as the likes of Gangster and Alamein are also talented horses.
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