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Wood set for Punchestown date

Very Wood is on course to attempt to supplement his Cheltenham triumph in Punchestown's Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle on April 30.

Trainer Noel Meade is keen to run his Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle winner back on home soil following his successful foray to Britain.

"Very Wood definitely goes to Punchestown for the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle, all going well," said the County Meath handler.

"He did it well at Cheltenham - the favourite Briar Hill came down but our horse stayed on well. He proved what we always thought of him - that he's a good staying hurdler - and the step up to three miles certainly helped him.

"He was lame the day before he ran at Cheltenham and it looked like he wasn't going to run but, with the power of prayer, he got there and it didn't seem to bother him too much on the day. He doesn't have to travel for Punchestown, which always makes it easier.

"We always felt that he would go on soft ground but he is a good-moving horse and he certainly coped with good ground at Cheltenham, although I wouldn't like to run him on anything quicker."

Possible opponents among the 29-strong entry include the Nicky Henderson-trained Beat That, winner of the Sefton Novices' Hurdle at Aintree, and several of Willie Mullins' star novices including the Cheltenham winners Don Poli, Faugheen and Vautour.

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