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JP McManus' Shanpallas can be good as gold at Cheltenham

By Frank Brownlow

Down Royal winner Shanpallas heads a triple assault by leading owner JP McManus on tomorrow's Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

Shanpallas, trained by Charles Byrnes, goes into the glamour £160,000 contest off the back of a victory at Limerick last month and also won the Barclay IT Services Handicap Hurdle at Down Royal last year.

Limerick native McManus also has Cantlow and Eastlake in the big race.

McManus must overcome the loss of his retained rider, Ulsterman Tony McCoy, the perennial champion jockey currently in Barbados recovering from rib and shoulder injuries sustained last month in a fall at Worcester.

Davy Russell will ride Shanpallas in tomorrow's showpiece.

Indian Castle poses a real threat to the McManus trio.

The Ian Williams-trained six-year-old has not had a run for 247 days but is a horse that tends to go well fresh.

Indian Castle also has Cheltenham-winning form. Victory in a novice handicap chase last January was noteworthy as he convincingly defeated Annacotty, who had previously won the Grade One Feltham by 10 lengths.

Cheltenham's three-day Open meeting starts today, Crossgar trainer Colin McBratney contesting the Opus Energy Handicap Chase with Butney Rock, Newry jockey Noel McParlan on board.

Glenavy handler Neil Mulholland, now based in Wiltshire, has Minella Present and Commitment later on the card.

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