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Cooper maps out Festival plans

Son Amix is Tom Cooper's most likely runner in a reduced team at the Cheltenham Festival.

Cooper's 2009 Arkle winner Forpadydeplasterer was ruled out of all the showpiece Festival races after struggling to recover from travelling to Kempton for the King George VI Chase.

The onus is now on his stable companion, a reliable handicapper who was fourth in last year's Fred Winter.

The Shepherd King, who has won twice under Rules but finished a distant fourth to Zaidpour on his most recent start in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse, also has several entries at Cheltenham.

Cooper's only other entry at this stage is Not Before Eight in the National Hunt Chase.

"The Shepherd King is likely to go to Thurles next Thursday," said the County Kerry handler.

"He probably needs to show a bit more before we think about Cheltenham.

"I know I'll run Son Amix at Cheltenham, either in the Coral Cup or the Pertemps Final."