Tiger Roll heads BoyleSports weights on 11-10

McKinley, shock winner of a Grade One novice event at Naas on Sunday, has been given 11st 2lb in the BoyleSports Hurdle at Leopardstown on January 18.

Tiger Roll heads BoyleSports weights on 11-10

The five-year-old is one of six entries for Willie Mullins as Ireland’s champion trainer seeks to win this valuable prize for a third time in five years and a fourth time in all.

Mullins’ other possibles are Daneking (11st 1lb), Lucky Bridle (11st 1lb), Clondaw Warrior (10st) and Valyssa Monterg (9st 13lb).

Arthur Moore, a six-times BoyleSports Hurdle winner, has just Sea Beat (9st 12lb) this time in a 42-strong race entry.

Gordon Elliott has yet to strike, but is giving it a good shot with five in the list headed by top-weight Tiger Roll (11st 10lbs), last year’s JCB Triumph Hurdle hero.

Elliott, who saddled last year’s runner-up Flaxen Flare, has also entered Shadow Catcher (10st 9lb), Fort Smith (9st 12lb), Roll It Out (9st 10lb) and Rocky Wednesday (9st 4lb).

Successful with Xenophon in 2003, Tony Martin has four chances – Ted Veale (11st 4lb), Savello (10st 8lb), Shemshal (10st 3lb) and Elishpour (10st).

The last British-trained winner was Jenny Pitman’s Master Tribe in 1997 and there are four UK entries his time round.

John Quinn is responsible for three – Fisher (11st 1lb), Forced Family Fun (10st 9lb) and Kashmir Peak (10st 8lb).

Nicky Henderson has entered Snake Eyes (10st 5lb), who is the early favourite at 8-1 with the sponsors.

Moore will try to boost his enviable record in the BoyleSports Handicap Chase, formerly known as the Leopardstown Handicap Chase, on the same card for which they were 27 entries.

He has entered three horses this time, Fever Pitch (9st 12lb), Treat Yourself (9st 10lb) and Back Off Mate (9st 9lb).

The Colin McBratney-trained Marito tops the weights on 11st 10lb with the Ted Walsh-trained Foxrock on 11st 8lb.

Willie Mullins has three in mind – Djakadam (11st 4lb), Dogora 10st 11lb) and Abbey Lane (10st 5lb).

Last year’s winner He’llberemembered, trained by Paul Fahey, has been given 10st 10lb. Other interesting contenders include the Martin-trained Sraid Padraig (10st 13lb), Noel Meade’s Down Ace (10st 1lb) and Enda Bolger’s Federici (9st 10lb).

Meanwhile RSA Chase favourite Kings Palace is likely to have just one more run before the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The David Pipe-trained seven-year-old has already turned in two hugely impressive displays at Prestbury Park over fences this season, beating Sausalito Sunrise in November and December.

Kings Palace has also been given an entry in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but, as a novice, the RSA remains his most likely objective.

Connections are currently mulling the best route to the Festival, with the Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot on February 14 among his options.

Harry Drew, son of part-owner Bryan Drew, said: “I think the plan is to give him one more run before the Festival and there are a few options.

“There’s a race at Newbury and also the race at Ascot that O’Faolains Boy won last year (Reynoldstown).

“He’s been entered in the Gold Cup today, but it’s just an entry and everyone wants to keep their options open.”

Assessing the potential opposition in the RSA Chase, Drew said: “Don Poli looked to win with a lot in hand in Ireland the other day and Coneygree was very impressive in the Feltham on Boxing Day.

“I think they’re probably our two main dangers.”

Shelford will not run before a possible tilt at the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival after he came to grief in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.

Dan Skelton’s six-year-old enjoyed a profitable autumn, winning twice at Chepstow, including in the Silver Trophy, before finishing fourth in the Ladbroke at Ascot.

He was well beaten when falling at the final flight on his first start at Grade One level in the Tolworth, with Skelton of the belief it was one run too many.

The Warwickshire trainer said: “He’s come out of the race 100 per cent.

“Having run in the Ladbroke only a fortnight ago, I think he was probably just a bit jaded, but it was only a four-runner race and had to be competed in.

“I’m a bit disappointed he’s now got an ’F’ by his name as he doesn’t deserve it. He just got stuck in the mud.

“He’ll have a good break now and definitely won’t run again between now and the Coral Cup.

“He’ll then only run in the Coral Cup if we’re 100 per cent happy with him, otherwise we’ll wait for Aintree.”

David Pipe believes the Crabbie’s Grand National is again “the obvious target” for Our Father following his encouraging run at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.

The nine-year-old grey got to within a length of Mon Parrain in an extended three-and-a-quarter-mile handicap chase to further underscore his Aintree credentials.

Our Father unseated Denis O’Regan in the Grand National last season, but Pipe has already earmarked a return to Merseyside in April.

The Pond House handler told www.davidpipe.com: “He has always run well fresh, although has often failed to build on that promise over the course of a season, so it was pleasing to see him run with credit on his second start this term.

“The obvious target for him is a tilt at the Grand National at Aintree in April – he appeared to take to them (the National fences) last term and confirmed that impression with his performance in the Becher Chase last month.

“He is due a rise in the weights for this latest effort and hopefully that will be enough to see him secure his place in the line-up.”

Douvan has been confirmed by trainer Willie Mullins as a likely starter in the Sportinglife.com Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown on Saturday.

The five-year-old excelled on his Irish debut at Gowran in November with a 12-length defeat of subsequent Grade One scorer Sizing John.

Douvan is the ante-post favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, and could be joined in the line-up at Punchestown by stablemate Nichols Canyon.

Mullins, who has won the race for the last two years, said: “Douvan is in good order and his form was franked at Leopardstown when Sizing John won the Grade One hurdle.”

Six other horses have been confirmed for the Grade Two over two miles, which has been won over the years by the likes of Kicking King, Mikael D’Haguenet and, most recently, Vautour.

Tony Martin could saddle Blair Perrone and Marinero, while Mouse Morris is also doubly represented at this stage by Alpha Des Obeaux and Baily Cloud.

Domesday Book and Rock On The Moor, trained respectively by Henry de Bromhead and Jessica Harrington, complete the possible line up.

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