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Mister firing ahead of Galway

Brendan Duke reports all to be going well with Mister Benedictine as the in-form nine-year-old builds towards next week's Guinness Galway Hurdle at Ballybrit.

Duke's charge is on a four-timer after a win at Ballinrobe and two follow-up successes at Kilbeggan. He is a general 16-1 chance for the big race on Thursday week, on the fourth day of the festival.

Pollardstown-based Duke tweeted: "My Galway Hurdle hope Mister Benedictine cantered 9f under Alfie on the Old Vic woodchip gallop at the Curragh today. I was pleased with him."

Speaking last week, Duke said: "His improvement really has been astonishing, but why it's happened at nine and with 70-odd races behind him is a mystery.

"It might be because he had a very long break for the first time since he was a yearling. He was turned out last July and didn't come in until October. He amused himself.

"His improvement has amazed me though, even since Kilbeggan. He should handle Galway too, as pace is no problem and people say if you can handle Kilbeggan you can handle Galway."

Davy Russell will be offered the mount on Rebel Fitz after the partnership struck at Tipperary on Sunday.

The Michael Winters-trained seven-year-old defeated Captain Cee Bee by a length and a half in the Grimes Hurdle to confirm his place in the summer highlight on August 2 - as long as he is not punished too severely by the assessor.

Winters said: "We'll go to Galway, but only if he doesn't get too much of a penalty. This was a great race to win and races help to settle him down a lot. He loved those conditions and is an ideal horse for this time of year, in that he can go on moderately soft ground and also on good ground.

"Davy gave him a peach of a ride but a lot of the work was done by Barry Geraghty and he'd have ridden him, but was claimed to ride The Real Article. Davy will keep the ride now in the Galway Hurdle if he wants it."


From Belfast Telegraph