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Lieutenant on duty at Thurles

First Lieutenant warms up for a potential tilt at the Crabbie's Grand National with a spin over hurdles at Thurles on Thursday.

The three-times Grade One winner has found life tough against the best staying chasers in Ireland this season, finishing down the field in the Champion Chase at Down Royal and in the Lexus Chase and the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

He now reverts to the smaller obstacles for the first time in almost four years in the Thurles Racecourse Hurdle over three miles.

Trainer Mouse Morris said: "We've decided to give him a run over hurdles to prep him up for Aintree, or wherever he's going.

"He seems in great form at home. He's been hunting and he seems a happy horse at the moment.

"He looks like a horse for Liverpool. I think going around there might just perk him up a bit, but we'll just wait and see what happens."

First Lieutenant faces just three rivals and has at least a stone in hand on official ratings.

Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh team up with Rolly Baby, while Colin Bowe's Gold Patrol must concede weight all round.

Daniel Howard's Archie Meade completes the quartet.

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