Top novices on course for Post clash

Arvika Ligeonniere and Oscars Well could clash in the Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown on St Stephen’s Day.

Willie Mullins’ Arvika Ligeonniere has already won at Grade One level over fences, looking an absolute natural when running his rivals into submission in the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse when last seen.

He leapt to prominence in the ante-post betting for the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival in the wake of that performance.

Oscars Well, trained by Jessica Harrington, was top-class over hurdles and looks like taking similar rank over fences, having won both his completed starts, most recently when beating Cootamundra by seven lengths at Navan.

Mullins also has the promising Aupcharlie, Marito and Twinlight amongst the 12 remaining entries.

Tony Martin’s Dedigout had no answer to Arvika Ligeonniere in the Drinmore but could take him on again, while his smart stablemate Benefficient is also a possible.

Mouse Morris’ prolific Baily Green, Dylan Ross and Sword Of Destiny are also in the mix.

The sole British possible is David Pipe’s His Excellency, formerly trained by Gordon Elliott.

Henry de Bromhead is weighing up his options ahead of the Future Champions Novices’ Hurdle at Leopardstown on December 27.

De Bromhead has three entries at this stage in Too Scoops, Sizing Rio and Clonbanan Lad, but whereas the latter was well beaten behind Jezki in the Royal Bond, the other two could not be in better form.

Too Scoops won a Listed Punchestown Hurdle last time out while Sizing Rio landed a Grade Three at Navan.

“Too Scoops came out of his last race in really good form,” said the Co Waterford handler.

“It was a good performance but I’m not sure just yet if he’s going to go to Leopardstown.

“I’ve also got Sizing Rio entered in that and he’s also progressing nicely so I’ll just have to sit down with both sets of owners and see what is right for each horse.”

Mossley is a possible for a Pertemps Qualifier at Leopardstown on December 29.

Robbie Hennessy is hoping the ground dries up to enable the six-year-old to show his best form.

The unfortunate scenario for Hennessy means that if the ground suits Mossley over Christmas, his stable star Rubi Light is unlikely to have his conditions in the Dial-A-Bet Chase.

“The thing with him is the ground, Barry Geraghty got off him the last day and said never to run him on heavy ground again,” said Hennessy.

“Unfortunately Rubi Light wants it heavy so it will only suit one of them over Christmas.

“Mossley has been working really well and given the right conditions he’s a smart horse.”

Jessica Harrington is considering taking Bostons Angel around Europe to contest all the major cross-country races.

The 2011 RSA Chase winner had apparently lost his form but has been sparked back to life by a change of discipline.

On his first start over the banks he finished second to Arabella Boy and then finished second to Outlaw Pete over Cheltenham’s cross-country course on Friday.

“Bostons Angel was the highlight of our weekend and although finishing second, it felt like a victory for us,” Harrington said on her website,

“This was only his second start in a cross-country type race and he ran a terrific race in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Friday.

“He jumped brilliantly and was clearly enthused by the challenge. Unfortunately, the ground was very heavy and he just began labouring on the last circuit.

“He clearly loves it and will be back in March, where he will stand a very good chance of winning at the Festival for a second time.

“There is a points system for all those banks races, with a league being run for events in France, Belgium and Italy. We’re going to look at the dates for those and might go there with him.”

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