Lexus switch for The Listener

THE LISTENER will head for Leopardstown’s Lexus Chase on December 28 rather than run in tomorrow’s rearranged John Durkan Memorial Chase at Fairyhouse.

“We’re putting a line through the John Durkan as it’s been too much of a mix-up for us,” said trainer Nick Mitchell.

“It would have been nice to have run in the John Durkan as he’s in such good form, but after his injury we didn’t want to take him over to Ireland and then find out it was off again.

“It’s unfortunate but those are the cards we’ve been dealt.”

* BIG BUCK’S faces a maximum of nine rivals when he bids to win the BGC Long Walk Hurdle for the second year running at Ascot on Saturday.

The Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old is undefeated in nine starts over the smaller obstacles since unseating his rider in the Hennessy Gold Cup in November 2008.

The Ditcheat handler and owner Andy Stewart have also left in Celestial Halo. He was third to Karabak in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham at the weekend.

Big Buck’s beat Duc De Regniere on his reappearance in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last month and Nicky Henderson’s charge could reoppose. The Seven Barrows trainer has another possible runner in Carole’s Legacy.

Kayf Aramis and Restless Harry still hold entries despite being behind Celestial Halo in sixth and seventh slots at Cheltenham.

David Pipe’s old campaigner Lough Derg took this prize in 2007 and could try again.

The sole Irish hopeful is the Tom Mullins-trained Oscar Dan Dan while Afsoun and Arcalis make up the acceptors.

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