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Our Girl Salley can put rivals to sword on fencing debut

On a low-key spread at Clonmel, Prunella Dobbs' classy mare Our Girl Salley makes her fencing debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners' Chase.

With the ever-reliable Barry Geraghty up, it will be a surprise if she doesn't emerge on top in the 15-runner contest. Jimmy and Paddy Mangan's experienced Noras Fancy is a danger but, barring accidents, it's hard to see beyond Our Girl Salley.

A three-time bumper winner that scored on four occasions over flights, including a Grade Three at Leopardstown last Christmas, the Carroll House seven-year-old is the latest in a string of decent horses to make the transition to fences. A fine, big sort that jumped hurdles cleanly, she should be well suited to the task at hand.

In the €15,000 Wilderness Chase, an 11lb ratings band covers the six-runner field, with Willie Mullins' trained and Ruby Walsh-ridden Sin Palo, a faller when still in contention three out at Ballinrobe last time, boasting the highest mark of 138.

The Michael Hourigan-trained Crash is officially 7lb inferior, but could win.

In obliging just once from seven outings last term, Davy Russell's mount didn't quite fulfil his potential. However, he has always looked as though he'd get better with time, so this is an opportunity for him to set off on the right foot for the season.

The day's nap vote goes to Kims Fancy in the opening mares' maiden hurdle. Chasing Shadows, brilliantly consistent but also frustrating, is a live threat.

Still, having been placed at Fairyhouse on her only two track starts, Philip Rothwell's keen front-runner should be suited by the Powerstown venue's much tighter configuration.

Later on, Ruby Walsh is taken to land the www.grahamnorris.com Memorial Handicap Hurdle on Playtime Ben.

A maiden winner here in September, Davy Fitzgerald's charge was just denied when he returned in handicap company a month ago, and should be thereabouts again off a 4lb higher rating.

Irish Independent