Nolan double-handed in Drinmore

PAUL Nolan is keeping his fingers crossed Alpha Ridge and Shinrock Paddy can make their presence felt in the Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse on Sunday.

Alpha Ridge remains winless in 10 starts over fences, but did chase home Pandorama in this Grade One prize two years ago.

Shinrock Paddy was a little disappointing on his fencing debut at Punchestown in October but built on that when second to Lambro at Naas, and Nolan is hoping for further progression on Sunday.

“It’s a very competitive race and my two are still maidens over fences,” Nolan told At The Races.

“If anyone was to tell you that Alpha Ridge would still be a maiden over fences you wouldn’t believe it, considering he was a 150-odd hurdler. That is just the way it’s worked out.

“He was second in the Drinmore to Pandorama two years ago and they were a distance clear of everything else.

“He has loads of experience, his jumping has let him down on occasions, but heavy ground seems essential for him.

“Hopefully they’ll get plenty of rain in Fairyhouse over the next day or so.

“Shinrock Paddy was good last time out and they were a long way clear of the third horse. He was beaten by a very decent horse.

“Again he’s a horse who loves testing conditions and I’m just hoping both horses run respectably and get some prize-money if they can.”

Meanwhile Sizing Europe will face eight rivals on his return to two miles in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown tomorrow.

Henry De Bromhead‘s stable star has won four out of five on his trips to Britain, with his sole defeat coming in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham when he went wrong between the final two flights.

He has experimented over a variety of distances in the past two seasons but has won an Arkle and a Champion Chase over this trip of two miles.

Paul Nicholls has got his usual strong hand in the feature race with two solid contenders. Andy Stewart‘s Tataniano, an impressive winner at Chepstow on his reappearance, and the unexposed Kauto Stone.

A half-brother to Kauto Star, twice a winner of this race, he was a very impressive winner of a Grade Two event at Down Royal on his first start for the yard.

Philip Hobbs has decided to drop Wishfull Thinking in trip after his defeat in the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

Nick Williams has two contenders, Gauvain and Cornas, while David Pipe also runs both Dan Breen and I‘msingingtheblues.

Gary Moore‘s Fix The Rib completes the line up.

As expected Nicky Henderson‘s Finian’s Rainbow was not declared along with the rank outsider Kinkeel.

Neil Mulholland’s Mad Max heads 15 runners declared for the Betfred Becher Chase at Aintree tomorrow.

The highly-rated chaser showed some smart form when trained by Nicky Henderson and makes his debut for his new yard over the Grand National fences this weekend.

Heading the ante-post betting is last year’s winner Hello Bud, while champion trainer Paul Nicholls is represented by Niche Market.

Dessie Hughes saddled Black Apalachi (2008) and Vic Venturi (2009) to success in consecutive renewals and has another major contender in Rare Bob.

Joining him on the trip from Ireland is the Noel Meade-trained Another Palm. Other major hopes include Swing Bill and Nicto De Beauchene as well as Peter Bowen’s Always Waining and Ballyvesey.

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