Dessie Hughes was no doubt hoping that with Barry Geraghty on board, his charge Raz De Maree would be able to seriously challenge in the recent Leinster National Handicap Chase at Naas last week but despite his best efforts, things did not go to plan and he was ultimately pulled-up.
Carrying 11-10, which was a little more than Hughes had hoped for once the weights were revised and increased, Raz De Maree went off at 12/1 but never got going, holding up the rear for most the race that he ran before being pulled-up by Geraghty a little more than half way around the three miles of the race.
Prior to the race Hughes had been quite upbeat about his prospects saying: “We think he's back to himself and as good as ever.”
However, this was the third successive poor run from Raz De Maree, who currently lies in 57th spot on the 2014 Crabbies Grand National entries list, having already been pulled-up at Navan back in November, a year after his last run.
Following that he finished 12th of 18 runners at Punchestown in February in the Grand National Trial Handicap Chase so all in all things are not looking good for the nine-year-old who also happens to be Dessie Hughes' only entry into the Grand National this year.
But if Hughes can identify the reason for the current poor form and rectify it before April 5th then he could still run a good race as prior to this mediocre form he had been doing very well and won both the Paddy Power Cork Grand National Handicap Chase and the Ladbrokes Munster Grand National Chase in October and November of 2012.