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Diakali heading to Aintree

Willie Mullins will rely on Diakali in the Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle on Thursday.

The grey ran such a game race when finishing fourth under top weight in the County Hurdle when last seen at the Cheltenham Festival and takes on a classy field in Liverpool.

The New One will attempt to atone for an unlucky run in the Champion Hurdle by aiming to go one better than 12 months ago.

Nigel Twiston-Davies' stable star was badly hampered by the fatal fall of Our Conor at Cheltenham, but the way he flashed home up the hill suggested he would have played a part in the finish.

The New One was narrowly beaten by Zarkandar as a novice in this race last season and Twiston-Davies and his jockey-son, Sam, will be hoping for a bit more fortune.

Taking him on is former champion hurdler Rock On Ruby after connections decided to put a chasing career on the back-burner following an error-strewn round of jumping in the Arkle.

Another reverting to the smaller obstacles is Nicky Henderson's Grandouet.

With Zarkandar likely to take up on option on Saturday in the Silver Cross Stayers' Hurdle, Paul Nicholls instead relies upon Irish Saint and Ptit Zig in the two-and-a-half-mile contest.

Alan King's Grumeti, winner of the Grade One four-year-old juvenile hurdle at the meeting two years ago, completes the field of seven.

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