Newcastle test for Harchibald

NOEL MEADE is looking forward to his first runner at Newcastle today as Harchibald prepares to prove his mettle in the Pertemps “Fighting Fifth” Hurdle.

Last seen when running out a smooth winner of the Grade Two Morgiana Hurdle two weeks ago, when he had the smart Back In Front in second place, the five-year-old is the only Irish challenger in the eight-strong field.

“He is already over there. He travelled over yesterday and apart from a delay in Carlisle, everything went well,” said Meade.

“It was a good run last time at Punchestown and if he can do that again, it will be great.”

Harchibald was well-backed when only fifth in the County Hurdle at last term’s Cheltenham Festival, but showed that he is a force to be reckoned with when chasing home Hardy Eustace to finish fourth in the Emo Oil Champion Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival.

“I did think that he strengthened up over the summer, good ground will be perfect for him and there’s sure to be a good gallop so we’ll take our time,” added Meade.

Among the opposition for Meade’s hope is Intersky Falcon and Inglis Drever, one of many stars from Howard Johnson’s County Durham yard.

Connections will be dropping Inglis Drever back to the minimum distance to see if he has the speed to take on Rooster Booster and Hardy Eustace at Cheltenham next March.

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