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Fehily gets Kitten Champion nod

Noel Fehily will partner Kitten Rock in the Stan James Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival next Tuesday.

Mark Walsh steered the JP McManus-owned five-year-old to a hat-trick of victories this season, but the jockey suffered a broken arm in a fall at Thurles last week.

Fehily's agent Chris Broad said: "Noel's been booked to ride him. There are only eight runners in the race and he's a nice ride to get."

Kitten Rock was a runaway winner of the Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park last month, but will be a big outsider for the main event on the opening day.

Trainer Edward O'Grady said: "The plan is to run and he seems in very good form.

"I'm happy with him and he's in good shape."

The New One's Champion Hurdle preparations neared completion on Wednesday with a satisfactory schooling session.

Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies was delighted with the jumping practice and will be hoping for more luck than last year.

The New One has been well placed by trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies this season and has won more money than any other National Hunt horse, bar Silviniaco Conti.

He is unbeaten since being badly hampered by the fatal fall of Our Conor is last season's Champion Hurdle.

Sam Twiston-Davies tweeted: "The New One did his last bit of schooling and jumped class, fingers crossed for Tuesday!"

The New One and Kitten Rock are among eight possible runners.

Willie Mullins has an enviable hand with red-hot favourite Faugheen, dual winner Hurricane Fly and the capable Arctic Fire.

Mullins has taken out Annie Power and Un De Sceaux, who have alternative engagements in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle and the Arkle respectively.

Garde Le Victoire, Irving, Plinth, Purple Bay, Sign Of A Victory and Tiger Roll were also removed from the reckoning.

Last year's winner Jezki, Nicky Henderson's Vaniteux and the Dan Skelton-trained Bertimont complete the field.

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