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Ground dampens Leopardstown gallops

Drying ground at Leopardstown greatly reduced the impact of the traditional after-racing gallops ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.

Noel Meade and Dessie Hughes were among those opting not to work their contenders, but Willie Mullins did let his string have a very gentle canter, although none engaged in anything serious.

Among them were Sir Des Champs, Raptor, The Midnight Club, Blackstairmountain, Boxer Georg, Prince De Beauchene, Quiscover Fontaine and On His Own.

Mullins said: "We've got them this far and can always do a bit more in the week. From what they did none of them appear to dislike the ground which is encouraging - Raptor especially handled the good ground.

"We were here anyway and if we brought them home (without having a canter) we would only have had to ride them out tonight at home.

"Emmet (Mullins) said the ground here was like when he (Sir Des Champs) won last year at Cheltenham.

"Blackstairmountain is one of my horses that would prefer better ground.

"The Midnight Club looked like he had lost a bit of enthusiasm but he got a bit of a fright at Aintree and maybe a day like this pulling the arms out of his jockey will bring him on."

Trainer Paul Flynn declared himself pleased with Galway Hurdle winner Moon Dice, a leading fancy for the Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle, who went with Dermot Weld's pair Daffern Seal and Merchant Royal.

Flynn said: "I'm very happy with Moon Dice. He hasn't run since Christmas because he has not really had his ground, and some of my horses were not running so well then."

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