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Uncle tom cobley can edge out rivals

Tomorrow's card at Naas features some interesting contests, not least the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Chase. Prince Erik, Cadspeed and Uncle Tom Cobley are the horses to focus on in the two-miler. In light of Dermot Weld's rich vein of form, Prince Erik will be popular, as he attempts to build on a first win over bigger obstacles at Sligo in September.

However, the Indian Ridge gelding may be the one most inconvenienced by the minimum trip, while the distance will suit Cadspeed. Willie Mullins' dual hurdle winner should improve on his most recent outing, which saw him take second behind Torphichen on his chasing and seasonal debut at Clonmel.

Cadspeed could prove very hard to beat now under Paul Townend, but he may again find one too good in Uncle Tom Cobley, a horse that has yet to fulfil all of its potential. A maiden hurdle winner nearly two years ago, the Conor O'Dwyer-trained seven-year-old ran to a consistent if unspec-tacular level over flights.

Since switching to fences in November, he has confirmed that it is there that his future lies, running third to Saludos at Navan before finishing second behind Lastoftheleaders back at the Meath venue last time. Should he build on that now, he could be the horse to beat.

Another that is expected to be better for a switch to fences is Giorgio Quercus, which tackles the novice chase at Plumpton for Nicky Henderson. Tullamore Dew, a winner over fences already and second in the Coral Cup, is the probable favourite, but he is also a more exposed sort. Giorgio Quercus is lightly raced, and showed his well-being by scoring on the all-weather recently.

Irish Independent