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Thursday 17 April 2014

Murphy insists Voler can get back to best at Fairyhouse

Colm Murphy believes his classy mare Voler La Vedette will bounce back from her shock odds-on defeat at Navan.

Last season's World Hurdle runner-up was a 1/7 favourite to secure back-to-back wins in the Lismullen Hurdle, but having been ridden with extreme confidence by Andrew Lynch, she failed to reel in race-fit front-runner Whatuthink.

Murphy feels his eight-year-old will improve for the run and she will now defend her title in the Grade One Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse next month.

"She seems fine this morning and considering the ground she made up, I think she probably ran a very good race," said Murphy.

"She came from a long way back and you can't give them a furlong start in that ground. She'll come on for the run and we'll stick to the plan and go for the Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse."

The trainer is still weighing up options for his leading staying chaser Quito De La Roque after his fine comeback run when third to Kauto Stone in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal earlier this month.

Murphy's fellow Wexford trainer Paul Nolan plans to give Joncol a spin over hurdles following his disappointing round of jumping in the same Down Royal feature.

INJURY

The 2010 Irish Hennessy winner missed the second half of last season with a tendon injury and although he ran with some promise on his return to action at Punchestown in October, he was always struggling back in Grade One company last time.

That said, he was not beaten all that far at the finish and Nolan feels if he had jumped with a little more purpose he might well have been in the thick of things.

"We came away a bit disappointed as he just backed off a few of his fences and didn't seem to have the appetite for jumping," Nolan said. "We'll give him a run over hurdles next time to try and sweeten him up a bit. He's never run over hurdles before as he was such a big horse we went straight over fences with him, but it might just help us get his mind right."

Another Nolan inmate set for a switch back to the smaller obstacles is Noble Prince. The eight-year-old won the Jewson Novices' Chase at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival, but was injured in the Ryanair Chase last spring and showed little spark on his return to action in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree.

"He seems well and he'll go back over hurdles for a conditions race somewhere," Nolan said.

Meanwhile, the Willie Mullins-trained Tarla could make her chasing debut at Clonmel on Thursday as she is among the 14 entries for the Grade 3 TA Morris Memorial Mares Novice Chase.

Tarla could come up against the Charles Byrnes-trained Knockfierna, which has already proven herself in the top rank over fences.

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