Westener back after lengthy lay-off

The Westener Boy returns to action in the Surehaul Mercedes-Benz Novice Hurdle at Clonmel today little more than a year after suffering what many feared would be a life-threatening injury in the Thyestes Chase.

Initially The Westener Boy looked very promising when landing a point-to-point and a bumper for Mags Mullins before being purchased by JP McManus, and again showed his talent with an easy win in a beginners chase for Colm Murphy at Navan in December 2012.

He went off a well-backed 4-1 joint-favourite for the following month’s Thyestes, on his handicap debut under Tony McCoy.

That quest for big-race glory at Gowran ended with a fall at the seventh fence and when he failed to jump the next when loose, plenty in attendance were sure that The Westener Boy had done serious damage.

Explaining his route back to race-fitness, Murphy said: “In fairness to JP and his team they did a great job looking after him and gave him every chance. Please God we’ll get him back to where we left off before.

“He had a serious enough shoulder injury, but he seems good.

“We’ll feel our way with him, but we’re very happy at the moment.

“Fingers crossed we’re hoping for a nice run and we’ll see where we go after this.”

Noel Meade relies on Very Wood in the Grade Three two-and-three quarter-mile feature.

He has been well-tried this season, and was last seen finishing a far-from-disgraced last of three to the potentially top-class Briar Hill in the Slaney Novice Hurdle, at Naas beaten just three lengths.

Meade said: “He got two and a half miles well last time and certainly wants this trip. He’s in good form and goes well on that sort of ground.”


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