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War of Attrition for Boyne battle

By Jimmy Walker

War Of Attrition, who has a date in the Grand National at Aintree, may in fact stay on course for his alternative engagement — the World Hurdle at Cheltenham — by winning the Boyne Hurdle at Navan tomorrow.

War of Attrition, who made all the running in the Galmoy Hurdle over three miles at Gowran Park, could be making his final start before the John Smith Grand National.

Trainer Mouse Morris said: “Whether he runs in the National will depend on the weight he gets and if we think he has too much, then he will probably go instead to the World Hurdle at Cheltenham.”

Ninetieth Minute, who won the Coral Cup at Cheltenham last season, represents Tom Taaffe who said: “We will see how he goes before looking ahead to Cheltenham but I would imagine we will keep him at home because the Cheltenham race looks a tough one.”

Also in the Cheltenham race is Mourad trained by Willie Mullins. He also runs tomorrow with Ruby Walsh in the saddle.

Mourad was a runaway winner at Punchestown last time out and would take all the beating here if up to the form which saw him finish third in the Triumph Hurdle last March.

Ossana, who won his first two starts over fences at Navan, goes for the Flyingbolt Novice Chase and trainer Eddie O’Grady feels Ossana should enhance his Cheltenham prospects.

Ossana has Shakervilz — another Mullins horse — to beat while there will also be another challenge in the form of Major Finnegan ridden by Barry Geraghty.

Ossana looked good in his Navan success and has been second to Seizing Europe in a Grade 1 race at Leopardstown and, on that basis, is given a confident vote.

Trainer Noel Meade, who is a standing dish here on his home track, should score with Sigma Lifestyle in the Ten Up Novice Chase.

At Gowran Park today, the two feature races are the Red Mills Trail Hurdle and Novice Chase.

Luska Lad, handled by Shark O’Hanlon, was a smart winner at Punchestown when defeating Jessica Harrington’s talented Saludos and is the nap vote.

Meade is however confident Muirhead can go close.

The seven-year-old ran a fine race to finish second to Solwhit on his first outing of the campaign but was beaten at odds-on at Naas last month.

“Maybe it was the ground the last day, maybe it was the trip, and maybe I didn't have him as right as I thought,” said Meade.

“I wasn't worried about the trip beforehand but he came there to win his race and didn't find as much as I thought he would — maybe two miles and three furlongs is too far for him.”

Watson Lake is reported to be in rude health for the Red Mills Chase and the 12-year-old owned by Ballyclare’s John Corr, put in a number of good performances this season, showing he is no back number with a Grade Two victory at Clonmel.

“Two and a half miles is ideal for him and he actually won this race three years ago,” said Meade.

Belfast Telegraph


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