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Towcester Preview: Alder Mairi handicapped to strike

Alder Mairi can take advantage of a huge drop in the weights not notch a first success over fences in the 2m 3f handicap chase at Towcester today (15:40).

Trained by Seamus Mullins, this mare developed into a smart performer over hurdles when winning three times, with the last of those successes coming in a competitive handicap at Wincanton where she beat Silsol by two lengths off a mark of 120.

The seven-year-old got put up to 127 for that success, and was far from disgraced off it when fourth at Chepstow.

Judged on those runs, Alder Mairi looked the type who would to well when sent chasing, and she shaped with some promise on her debut over the larger obstacles when third to the classy Highland Retreat at Huntingdon on seasonal reappearance.

The daughter of former Champion hurdle winner Alderbook was given an opening chase mark of 123 on the back of that effort, but has not come up to expectations in three subsequent starts in handicap company.

However, that has resulted in the assessor cutting Alder Mairi plenty of slack and she is now able to race off a rating of 105.

That makes Alder Mairi dangerously well-treated on the pick of her form, especially now eased in grade, and this looks a golden opportunity for her to get back on the winning trail.

In the 2m handicap hurdle that opens proceedings (14:10), the well-treated Crouching Harry looks the one to be on after bouncing back to form when runner-up last time out.

The gelding had some smart form to his name when trained in Ireland in 2012, finishing third to subsequent Triumph Hurdle winner Our Connor and runner-up to Diakali before opening his account over the obstacles with a game 1/2 length success over Fatcatinthehat at Clonmel.

Crouching Harry was allotted an opening handicap mark of 109 on the back of that success but, after moving to join trainer Anabel Murphy, the British assessor harshly put it up to 118.

The six-year-old subsequently struggled in his first four runs over hurdles for Murphy, but his handicap mark fell as a result and there was much more to like about his run last time out when second to Mighty Mambo over course and distance.

Crouching Harry stayed on strongly to go down by 2 1/4 lengths and now meets the winner on 6lb better terms.

That should be enough to turn around the placings, and off an unchanged mark of 99 Crouching Harry looks weighted to take all the beating if building on that effort.

Selections:
14:10 Crouching Harry (NB)
14:40 Kap West
15:10 Monbeg Dolly
15:40 Alder Mairi (NAP)
16:10 Ravens Brook
16:40 Mr Mercurial
17:10 Coole Charmer