No More Heroes to go straight to Cheltenham Festival

RSA Chase favourite No More Heroes will head straight for the Cheltenham Festival after connections elected to bypass Leopardstown on Saturday.
No More Heroes to go straight to Cheltenham Festival

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned seven-year-old is one of the best staying novice chasers in Ireland after winning each of his three starts over fences, completing the hat-trick with a brilliant display in Grade One company at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting.

Connections considered one final run in preparation for his trip across the Irish Sea in this weekend’s Flogas Novice Chase, but he did not feature amongst the confirmations on Tuesday.

Trainer Gordon Elliott said in his BoyleSports blog: “No More Heroes will sidestep the Flogas Novice Chase and we’ll head straight for the RSA Chase.”

Meanwhile Willie Mullins is responsible for five of the nine horses to have stood their ground for the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown on Saturday.

Mullins has saddled the last three scorers in the two-and-a-quarter-mile Grade One, with last year’s victor Nichols Canyon preceded by two subsequent winners of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in Vautour and Champagne Fever.

This year’s quintet includes the Andrea and Graham Wylie-owned pair of Bellshill and Yorkhill, both of whom are unbeaten over hurdles.

On their last starts Bellshill landed the Lawlor’s Hotel Novice Hurdle at Naas and Yorkhill struck in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown.

Mullins could also call upon Bleu Et Rouge, Petit Mouchoir and recent Warwick scorer Thomas Hobson.

Last Encounter, trained by the champion trainer’s sister-in-law Mags Mullins, was runner-up behind Bellshill at Naas and could take him on again this weekend.

However, the six-year-old also has the option of running in the Surehaul Mercedes-Benz Novice Hurdle at Clonmel on Thursday.

“We’re not sure what we’re going to do yet, but I’d say Clonmel is probably more likely,” said Mullins. “He’s in good form, so I’ll have a chat with the owners and see what they want to do.”

The Gordon Elliott-trained Tombstone, Eddie Harty’s Coney Island and Anibale Fly from Tony Martin’s yard complete the list.

Elliott believes Tombstone, runner-up to Long Dog in the Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas, has lots in his favour.

He said: “I really think the trip will suit and the ground will suit him so with a bit of luck, he’ll do it.”

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