ARAUCARIA has a big reputation which was greatly enhanced when she was a very impressive winner of a mares' hurdle at Wexford last month where she beat Model County Lass with her head in her chest. She had only narrowly defeated the runner-up on her previous start so is obviously very much on the upgrade. Lizzie Bennett and Benefit Scheme, who were behind at Wexford, can hardly be expected to reverse the form on these terms. Macville is penalised for beating Drumfire in a Listed contest at Limerick but that was over 2m5f and today's trip may prove too short. The distance will prove no problem for Oilily, who is in brilliant form and beat a very good field in a Grade 3 at Tipperary last month. Sean Byrne's mare, runner-up in a Grade 1 bumper at Punchestown, looks a big threat in a race that should provide plenty of pointers for the future.
Macville (IRE) 4-1fav (11-4) Chased leaders, 6th halfway, headway into 4th 4 out, ridden before 2 out, stayed on to challenge last, led run-in and kept on well, won at Limerick 2m 5f lst nov hdl (4yo+) (1) gd in Oct beating Drumfire (11-2) by 2 1/2l, 10 ran.
Oilily (IRE) 5-1 (10-10) Slowly into stride and in rear, headway into 3rd after 3 out, ridden to lead after 2 out, stayed on well from last, won at Tipperary 2m nov hdl Grd 3 (1) in Oct beating Ballyadam Brook (11-8) by 2 1/2l, 11 ran.
Araucaria (IRE) 8-15fav (11-7) Settled on inner behind leaders, 6th halfway, smooth headway into close 2nd after 3 out, led next, went clear before last, stayed on well, easily, won at Wexford 2m 4f Mares Hurdle (5yo+) gd in Oct beating Model County Lass (10-10) by 6l, 15 ran.
Diyla (IRE) 16-1 (10-12) Led, ridden and headed entering straight, no extra and kept on same pace, lost 2nd close home, 4th of 20, 3 1/2l behind Kaiser So Say (11-0) at Galway 2m 6f hcp hdl 8Evens23 gd in Oct.
Benefit Scheme (IRE) 12-1 (11-7) Tracked leaders on inner, 3rd halfway, headway to lead 3 out, soon strongly pressed, headed 2 out, no extra and drifted left at last, weakened run-in, 4th of 15, 14l behind Araucaria (11-7) at Wexford 2m 4f Mares Hurdle (5yo+) gd in Oct.
Lizzie Bennett (IRE) 10-1 (11-7) Held up towards rear, headway on outer from 5 out, ridden along in 4th after 3 out, no impression 2 out, kept on same pace into 3rd run-in, 3rd of 15, 10l behind Araucaria (11-7) at Wexford 2m 4f Mares Hurdle (5yo+) gd in Oct.
Shop Dj (IRE) 4-1 (11-7) Rear of mid-division, headway approaching 4 out, 5th after 3 out, 3rd before last, kept on same pace, 4th of 30, 4l behind Araucaria (11-7) at Navan 2m 4f mdn hdl sft in Sep.
Tovaria 3-1 (11-7) Tracked leaders, 4th approaching 4 out, no impression under pressure and kept on same pace from before straight, 8th of 14, 21l behind Moon Over Moscow (10-13) at Fairyhouse 2m 2f mares mdn hdl gf in Oct.
Firm Foundations (IRE) 9-1 (10-9) Led and clear of remainder with 2nd, reduced lead 3 out, headed next, soon no impression and kept on same pace, 6th of 22, 13l behind Si C'etait Vrai (11-7) at Naas 2m 4yo mdn hdl sft in Oct.
Flying Bella 8-1 (10-4) Chased leader, disputed 2nd, ridden before straight, stayed on to challenge 2 out, kept on from before last, no extra close home, just held for 2nd, 3rd of 4, 1 1/4l behind Gimli's Rock (11-6) at Limerick 2m 2f 4yo hdl gd in Oct.