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Nolan delighted by Prince progress

Noble Prince is pleasing trainer Paul Nolan ahead of Cheltenham's Ryanair Chase following a successful breathing operation.

Winner of the Jewson Novices' Chase at last season's Festival, the eight-year-old was among a small team Nolan took for a racecourse workout at the Curragh at the start of the week.

"We are happy at this stage with the few we are taking to Cheltenham, as long as we can keep them sound until then," said Nolan.

"We worked them over a mile and a quarter at the Curragh on a lovely bit of fresh ground on grass. Noble Prince seems very well. All has gone well with him so far and he's had no setbacks. Hopefully he will be fine for Thursday week.

"He's had his palate fired which wasn't major surgery. Ben Brain (vet) did the operation and he said all going well, it should be perfect timing as regards when it was done. Hopefully it won't be an issue.

"He seems fine and he came out of the operation very well. We won't know how successful it was until he runs. We never thought that was a problem but we had it checked out and we decided to give him the wind op.

"If it was going to make a difference of a couple of lengths you never know."

Nolan has yet to finalise who rides Noble Prince at Cheltenham as Tony McCoy, who was in the saddle there 12 months ago, is likely to be claimed for dual Ryanair winner Albertas Run for Jonjo O'Neill.

"We're not sure at the moment who rides him," Nolan continued.

"We'll have to see what the situation is with AP being tied up with Albertas Run. We don't want to say anything until we know for sure who rides him."

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