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Leopardstown preview: Arkle Novice Chase is the highlight

Updated: Friday, 25 Jan 2013 14:26 | Comments

Paul Townend was aboard when Arvika Ligeonniere won the Racing Post Novice Chase over Christmas
Paul Townend was aboard when Arvika Ligeonniere won the Racing Post Novice Chase over Christmas

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A switch from Sunday's card means the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase now takes centre stage at Leopardstown.

Arvika Ligeonniere has been the top novice this season and added a Grade One here over Christmas to the Drinmore he landed in spectacular style a few weeks before.

Oscars Well was put firmly in his place last time but still reopposes, with Benefficient completing the select line-up.

Inis Meain tops the market for the Boylesports.com Hurdle and could be ahead of the handicapper after scorching up the Flat ratings last summer.

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But this is a tough task for his first outing in over four months, and King Of Queens, Shadow Catcher and Abbey Lane are just three opponents with the potential to prove better than their current marks as well.

Hidden Cyclone didn't settle in the Lexus, so Shark Hanlon drops him back in both class and distance for the Leopardstown Handicap Chase.

This is another hotly contested affair, though, with Canaly seeking a hat-trick, Glam Gerry a regular in this sort of contest, and Sweet My Lord lurking low in the weights for Willie Mullins.

The champion trainer should get the meeting off to a flyer, providing Fatcatinthehat doesn't remember his last-flight Punchestown fall in the opening Leopardstown.com Maiden Hurdle at 1.10.

Mullins has decided not to pitch Boston Bob into the Grade Two Boylesports.com Bet On Your Mobile Novice Chase, and relies instead on Marito, who attempts to confirm his Naas superiority over Mount Benbulben.

His stablemate City Slicker has been purchased by JP McManus since breaking through at Fairyhouse but faces smart prospects Foxrock, Thunder And Roses, Mala Beach and Mullaghanoe River as he tackles obstacles for the first time in the Ryan's Cleaning Maiden Hurdle.

Dermot Weld has won the www.leopardstown.com (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race twice in the last three seasons, so his newcomer Willow Island is sure to attract plenty of attention. 

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