Shhehy hoping to bounce back with Justified

JUSTIFIED will attempt to get his career back on track when tackling two and a half miles for the first time in the Grade One Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse on Sunday.

The Easter showpiece has attracted 15 entries at the five-day stage with Dusty Sheehy’s charge set to have his first outing since finishing third to Missed That and Arteea in the Irish Arkle in January.

The seven-year-old was ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival with a dirty scope but had proved his mettle earlier in the season with two impressive wins over fences.

“He has been going very well and I have been very pleased with him”, said Sheehy.

“We gave him a small break after his dirty scope and he has been away for a gallop since and went very well.

“I don’t think two and a half miles will be any problem to him at all and hopefully we will end up in Punchestown and that will be it for the season.”

Sheehy also hopes to have Tony McCoy aboard and added: “We have made no plans and we don’t know if Tony is available or not but if he is, he will ride.”

Justified could renew rivalry with Missed That at the weekend, with his trainer Willie Mullins also having Davenport Democrat, Homer Wells and Royal & SunAlliance Chase failure Our Ben engaged.

Grand National-winning trainer Martin Brassil could run Nickname with other possibles including Arteea, In Compliance, Sher Beau and Dr. P. J. Moriarty Novice Chase winner The Railway Man.

All In The Stars is set to bypass Monday’s Powers Whiskey Irish Grand National in favour of a tilt at the Scottish equivalent five days later.

Trainer Paul Keane is likely to take the eight-year-old out of Fairyhouse’s three-mile-five-furlong showpiece at today’s confirmation stage and keep him for the Gala Casinos Daily Record-sponsored contest at Ayr.

He said: “I spoke to Anthea Morshead (clerk of the course at Ayr) and she tells me the ground is good to soft, soft in places with a good stretch in the last furlong.

“It’s due to be dry next week but I would hope the ground would stay easy enough for him to run - you could say I’m putting all my eggs in the Scottish basket!

Meanwhile, Accordion Etoile will undergo intensive schooling to try and improve his jumping ahead of an engagement at the Punchestown Festival.

After falling in the Arkle Challenge Trophy - for which he had been ante-post favourite - the seven-year-old made a mistake at the ninth fence in the Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree last week and finished a disappointing sixth - 43 lengths behind the successful Foreman.

And trainer Paul Nolan acknowledges his 2005 Champion Hurdle fourth will have to brush up on his jumping to be competitive at the top level.

He said: “He is not jumping well at pace and as soon as the race switches on he seems to make a hash of it.

“We are going to give him loads of loose schooling and hopefully we can get him jumping better.

“He just made a complete hash of the fence at Aintree and I don’t know how John (Cullen) stayed on him. He hurt himself trying to stay on and has stood himself down for a couple of days to try and get right for Fairyhouse.

“Hopefully the horse can get his act together and there will be better to come. He can only go one way and can’t do any worse than he is doing at the moment.

“It is all about experience and he won’t be the first novice to have a disappointing season.”

Winner of a Grade Two event at Cheltenham in November, Accordion Etoile will next be seen in the Swordlestown Cup Novice Chase on April 27, despite being entered in the Kerrygold Champion Chase two days earlier.

Elsewhere, French raider Ambobo has been transferred to John Smith’s Grand National-winning trainer Martin Brassil’s yard.

Brassil recruited the former Arnaud Chaille-Chaille six-year-old before the Cheltenham Festival as his Irish owner, Sean Mulryan, plans to run a number of his French-based string in his homeland.

Ambobo is a five-time winner in France and also landed the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novices’ Hurdle at last year’s Festival, accounting for Brewster by two and a half lengths.

“The plan is to run him in the White Water Champion Stayers’ Hurdle at Punchestown (on April 27),” said Brassil.

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Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.


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