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China among Gold entries

China Rock heads eight Irish entries in the blue riband at the Cheltenham Festival, the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 16.

Mouse Morris's charge was in the process of running a massive race last season when he picked up an injury.

"China Rock is running over hurdles at Punchestown on Saturday and we hope that he can head to Cheltenham once again as he was in the process of running a big race before breaking down in the Gold Cup last year," said Morris.

"He had stem cell treatment, like War Of Attrition received, afterwards and has been back in training quite a while now.

"The ground is important to him as he wants a decent surface. Obviously, every day is a bonus when a horse comes back from a tendon injury like his but he's going well and the plan is to head to Cheltenham."

One of last season's best staying novices was Gordon Elliott's Jessies Dream and while he has not been out this season, his whole campaign is being built around the Gold Cup, while another Irish challenger is Quito De La Roque for the excellent Colm Murphy while last year's RSA winner Bostons Angel is also entered.

Willie Mullins has entered Apt Approach, Quel Esprit and The Midnight Club while Magnanimity could run for Dessie Hughes.

Much of the focus will be on the fifth meeting between Kauto Star and Long Run, with both horses boasting two wins apiece after Nicky Henderson's Long Run took the King George and Cheltenham Gold Cup last season.

However, Kauto Star saw off Long Run by eight lengths at Haydock and while his younger rival closed the gap at Kempton, Paul Nicholls' superstar reclaimed his King George crown.

Henderson has also entered long-term absentee Burton Port and surprisingly Finian's Rainbow, while Nicholls could run What A Friend, who was fourth 12 months ago, Tidal Bay, Poquelin and The Minack.


From Belfast Telegraph