Timeform's Tony McFadden highlights a Nap, Next Best and Each-Way selection at Gowran Park on Thursday.
"...that form is the best on offer."
Sam's Choice - 13:35 Gowran Park
Sam's Choice shaped like needing a longer distance when only fourth in a two-miler on his hurdling debut at Galway in October and he duly improved for a step up in trip at Punchestown a month later, finishing runner-up over just shy of two and three-quarter miles. Sam's Choice was only narrowly denied by a rival who has since finished runner-up in a Grade 2 novice and that form is the best on offer. Sam's Choice is also entitled to carry on improving after only two starts over hurdles and he should prove difficult to beat.
Auckland - 14:35 Gowran Park
Auckland produced his best effort yet when runner-up in a novice hurdle at Limerick last month and the form of that event has started to work out well with the third, fourth and fifth all placed next time out. Auckland was only beaten a length at Limerick and he deserves extra credit as he stumbled after the second-last when still holding every chance. He looks fairly treated reverting to handicap company and should have no problem stepping back up in trip.
Escaria Ten - 15:05 Gowran Park
The prestigious Thyestes Handicap Chase looks as competitive as ever, but Escaria Ten makes appeal based on the form he showed when third in a strong edition of the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last season, finding only Galvin and Next Destination too strong. He looked well handicapped off a mark of 151 in the Irish Grand National but found the race coming too soon after his big Cheltenham effort and was pulled up. He is well worth another chance off this mark and should launch a bold bid on his return in a race in which Gordon Elliott has a good recent record (has won two of the last four editions).