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Education News

Racing: Him Of Praise can raise the roof

The former National Hunt jockey Steve Smith Eccles (right) gives a runner-by runner analysis of today's Greenalls Grand National Trial Chase.

Belmont King: His form figures are not inspiring but the trainer is enjoying a purple patch and reports his horse in fine fettle. Pulled up in soft ground last time, but hoping for better conditions here.

Earth Summit: Winner of this season's Welsh National. He needs soft ground to be at his best.

Nahthen Lad: The further he goes, the better he is. He has shaped up nicely and deserves another chance after pulling up on his last outing.

Avro Anson: Likes fast ground and will strip fitter for his seasonal reappearance in December. However, he has not sparkled over fences as he did over hurdles.

Lo Stregone: Hard to see him figuring in the finish on his seasonal reappearance.

Strath Royal: Has been in great form, running second in the Peter Marsh Chase over this course. Sure to run well.

Call It A Day: A good second to Ottowa in the Singer & Friedlander National Trial at Uttoxeter. He will probably go to post as favourite and is the one they have to beat.

Dun Belle: Runner-up to Dorans Pride in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown. A repeat performance would put him in the frame.

Court Melody: His trainer, Paul Nicholls, is on fire and so is this horse, winning his last two starts. Likes fast ground and is sure to run well.

Antonin: Now trained in Ireland, but has not sparkled this season.

Him Of Praise: Seemed to idle in front on his last outing but should run a big race with the first-time visor in place. Well handicapped and the mount of the Irish champion jockey, Charlie Swan.

Into The Red: A great old campaigner who is having his first run of the year. He will probably need it, too.

Shanagarry: Useful on his day but inconsistent.

Colonel In Chief: Badly hampered and pulled up on his latest start. That run is best ignored and he could be in the firing line.

Dom Samourai: Second to Ottowa in the John Hughes Chase last Saturday. Looks a hard ride and his jockey will certainly earn his corn.

Kendal Cavalier: Although in good form, winning his last two races, he is over a stone out of the handicap.

Conclusion: Four horses should dominate this, including Call It A Day, who is the one they must beat. Him Of Praise, who was just behind him at Uttoxeter, should fare better in the headgear, while Strath Royal does not know how to run a bad race. The Irish raider Dun Belle comes into the reckoning, but I expect HIM OF PRAISE to show them all a clean pair of hooves.