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Askmeroe can make light work of rivals

Tony Martin's team has been in good form since the turn of the year, the Meath man's six starters yielding two winners and two seconds. With another half a dozen runners at Leopardstown tomorrow, he could soon add to that tally.

Askmeroe, Martin's representative in the Tote Pick Six Every Sunday Leopardstown Chase, looks to have as good a chance as any. Although this is one of the more competitive handicap chases run each year, the eight-year-old has plenty to recommend him.

A winner over hurdles in 2009, Askmeroe progressed steadily over fences last term. On his third effort, he promised much when third to Kimberlite King at Fairyhouse and he went on to confirm that promise by hacking up in heavy ground at that venue's spring festival in April.

On his only subsequent start, the son of Rudimentary was unsuited by the speed demands of two miles on good ground at Aintree, so the return to more testing conditions is expected to play to his strengths now. Off a first-time chasing mark of 116, he may not be harshly treated.

Allocated just 9st 10lb tomorrow, Adrian Heskin's five-pound claim takes another valuable few pounds off Askmeroe's back. With massive scope to improve, they could be very hard to beat.

Just prior to that handicap, Jessies Dream attempts to build on his excellent triumph in the Drinmore Chase when he tackles four rivals in the Grade Two Novice Chase.

While Gordon Elliot's charge is the most likely winner, he must concede seven pounds to some useful horses here, so it may be worth opposing him at a short price.

Magnanimity is best placed to take advantage of the weight concession. Another taking winner at Fairyhouse last Easter, Dessie Hughes' seven-year-old progressed well from his chasing debut to score in good style at Punchestown last time, and it could be within his capabilities to put it up to the favourite now.

Irish Independent