Butterfly misses Navan test

LIKE-A-BUTTERFLY, Christy Roche’s big Arkle Trophy hope, will miss the Grade Two Flyingbolt ’Chase at Navan on Sunday.

“Her blood is okay, but she just didn’t scope one hundred per cent and won’t run. It’s not the end of the world and Cheltenham remains the dream.

“I’d like to give her a run in the next week or ten days, it would be nice to get more experience before Cheltenham.”

The daughter of Montelimar hasn’t been seen since disappointing at Leopardstown at Christmas in the Durkan New Homes Novice ’Chase.

She went off a warm 11-10 favourite then, but was out of contention when pulled up behind Mariah Rollins.

Michael Hourigan reported that Beef Or Salmon will be ridden out this morning for the first time since going down to Rule Supreme in the Hennessy at Leopardstown on Sunday.

“We scoped him when he came home on Sunday night,” said Hourigan. “He wasn’t as bad as at Leopardstown, but still wasn’t right. He’s been on antibiotics since and they ended today.

“I am glad we had the problem at Leopardstown rather than Cheltenham. Take Rule Supreme out of the Hennessy and Beef Or Salmon would have been the clear winner. If that had happened then we wouldn’t have known there was a problem with our horse.”

Meanwhile, Dessie Hughes rates Rooster Booster and not the strong Irish contingent as the biggest danger to Hardy Eustace landing back-to-back victories in the Smurfit Champion Hurdle.

The eight-year-old foiled the Philip Hobbs-trained grey by five lengths when springing a 33-1 surprise at the Cheltenham Festival last March.

“I mostly fear Rooster Booster. Horses that have run well at Cheltenham in the past usually go back and run well again,” said Hughes.

“If he turns up this time I think he’ll go close.”

The Irish provide the first six in the betting for the Champion with Hardy Eustace a 6-1 chance behind 3-1 favourite Harchibald.

“Hardy Eustace has won at Cheltenham the last two years. The ground is good at that time of year and it suits him,” Hughes added.

The eight-year-old has his final race for Cheltenham in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park tomorrow in which he was just touched off by Georges Girl 12 months ago.

He finished a close third to Macs Joy and Brave Inca in a desperate finish to the AIG Europe Champion Hurdle on heavy ground at Leopardstown last month.

The Kildare trainer added: “He’s in good form. It was a good run in the AIG and we’re happy with him.

“He’s come out of the AIG very well. He didn’t really have too hard a race so he’ll run again this Saturday.

“He’s more forward this year and I think he’s improved. He’s stronger anyway. I think it’s a weaker Red Mills this year.

“He’s scoped clean, we’ve not overworked him and he’s nice and fresh.”

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