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Don Poli heads big race entries

By Ron McKnight

A total of 24 horses have been entered for next month's Down Royal Festival feature - the Grade 1 Champion Chase.

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown Stud operation dominates the entries which closed yesterday.

Gigginstown have 10 horses engaged in the £140,000 showpiece on November 5 including star chaser Don Poli, third in last year's Cheltenham Gold Cup behind the O'Leary-owned Don Cossack and previously a dual Cheltenham Festival winner.

Clarcam, Empire Of Dirt, Lord Scoundrel, Outlander, Roi De Francs, Valseur Lido, Very Wood, Wounded Warrior and Tiger Roll - the latter winner of the Munster National last weekend - are the other Gigginstown entries.

O'Leary has made the race his own in recent seasons, winning with Don Cossack last year and Road To Riches and Roi Du Mee in 2014 and 2013 while Quito De La Roque collected in 2011.

Gordon Elliott trains all the Gigginstown horses with the exception of Wounded Warrior (Noel Meade) and Valseur Lido (Henry de Bromhead) but also has Realt Mor, owned by the Sloan family from Templepatrick.

Meade also has the locally-owned Monksland and intends also entering the horse in the Grade 2 Novice Chase on Down Royal's Super Saturday.

Fine Rightly, trained near Larne by Stuart Crawford, is another owned by local connections.

Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins has Alelchi Inois and Ballycasey engaged, the latter a former Ulster point to pointer.

Belfast Telegraph


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