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Leopardstown Hennessy card set to attract leading lights

Updated: Thursday, 17 Jan 2013 21:24 | Comments

The mercurial Tidal Bay, who put his best foot forward in last month's Lexus Chase at Leopardstown, is almost certain to return for a shot at the Hennessy
The mercurial Tidal Bay, who put his best foot forward in last month's Lexus Chase at Leopardstown, is almost certain to return for a shot at the Hennessy

The Hennessy Gold Cup meeting at Leopardstown features a whole host of stellar entries in the main race and on the supporting card.

Hennessy Gold Cup

Paul Nicholls' Lexus hero Tidal Bay is one of the 16 entries in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown on 9 February.

Galvanised by Ruby Walsh to come home first in a dramatic finish to the Christmas highlight over course and distance, Tidal Bay could face a rematch with two of the other three horses involved in the conclusion.

Peter Casey's popular Flemenstar (third) and Sir Des Champs (fourth) have both been entered, with the latter's trainer Willie Mullins having won the last two renewals of the race, and eight in total.

He has put in Quel Esprit too, while Henry de Bromhead's Sizing Europe has been given an entry as the trainer assesses his options.

Nicholls has back-up in jnwine.com Champion Chase winner Kauto Stone with Jonjo O'Neill giving the option for Ryanair star Albertas Run.

Other notable contenders are Joncol, China Rock, Roi Du Mee, Seabass, Prince De Beauchene and Bog Warrior.

Albertas Run, who won the Ryanair in 2010 and 2011, was runner-up to Riverside Theatre in the most recent renewal of the Festival event as part of a fragmented campaign last season.

O'Neill is, however, currently favouring a trip to Ascot rather than Leopardstown.

He said: "We put him in the Hennessy just as an option, really, as I want to get a run into him.

"I would have thought he'd be more likely to run at Ascot (Ascot Chase)."

Deloitte Novice Hurdle

A mouthwatering clash between last season's first and second from Cheltenham's Champion Bumper could be on the cards in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle.

The Willie Mullins-trained Champagne Fever and John Ferguson's New Year's Eve fought out the finish last March and both have shown promise over hurdles.

However, not everything has gone to plan with Champagne Fever who returned a sick horse after his last run which saw him drift in the betting for Cheltenham's novices' hurdles.

New Year's Eve has only run the once but ran a perfectly respectable second to the classy River Maigue at Kempton. Ferguson has also entered Whispering Gallery, a top-class horse from the level who won his hurdling debut recently.

Mullins has another strong contender, however, in the shape of Pont Alexandre who was a very impressive winner on his first start for the yard in Grade One company at Navan.

Jeremy Scott's Melodic Rendezvous, a good winner of the Tolworth Hurdle, is another possible British runner.

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