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Horse Racing - Racing: Russell expecting tricky defence

Lucinda Russell says Well Above Par faces a different test when attempting to defend his Go North Monet's Garden Series Final Handicap Chase at Carlisle.

Well Above Park produced a brilliant performance to finish ahead of second-placed Ard Chros, who is part of the 10-runner field for Sunday's race, in Cumbria last year and the defending champion is 12/1 to claim the spoils again.

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Ground conditions to play big part

The outcome could be a bit different 12 months on as the surface on that occasion was soft whereas the ground staff have been applying water to that track just to maintain the going description as officially good, good to soft in places.

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Well Above Par has done most of his racing at Carlisle this season, winning over this trip of 2m4f in November before a couple of solid efforts and connections are hopeful he can handle the conditions.

Trainer Lucinda Russell said: "He won the race last season but that was when the ground was heavy so this will be a bit of a different test on quick ground. This has been his target so we're giving it another go."

One better for Ard Chros?

Last year's runner-up Ard Chros has not looked back since that reversal and is on a four-timer after two wins at the track, which included a qualifier for the final, and at Ayr.

Stuart Coltherd, trainer of Ard Chros, said: "We thought the fast ground would be against him last time but he still ran a blinder and we fancy him to register the four-timer.

"Hopefully they'll put plenty of water on as we still think he's better with some cut in the ground. Obviously, he's creeping up the handicap but he's in great shape at home."

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