Noble remains Festival hope

PAUL NOLAN still hopes Noble Prince will be able to run at the Punchestown Festival despite finding out his stable star suffered from sacroiliac joint pain at Cheltenham.

Well fancied for the Ryanair Chase having won at the Festival last year, Davy Russell (above) was forced to pull up Noble Prince with half a mile to run.

Nolan thanked Russell for his actions and believes if he had asked him to complete the race, more damage could have been done.

Sizing Europe suffered from the same ailment when he was pulled up in the Champion Hurdle of 2008 and made a complete recovery.

Nolan said: "Hopefully it's treated. It's a very treatable injury and we should be back, we're still not ruling out Punchestown.

"He must have twisted his back or hurt it in some way but the vet was very confident that is what it was, but it's treated now so we shall see.

"I'm glad we found something anyway, otherwise we would have been scratching our heads.

"It was good Davy pulled him up when he did rather than going on to what looked an inevitable defeat.

"Whatever he did happened early on."

Mouse keen to go Four Fairyhouse

Four Commanders is set to tackle the Ladbrokes Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on April 9.

Only a six-year-old, he is a brother to Gold Cup winner Kicking King and finished a close third in the four-mile National Hunt Chase last week.

Trainer Mouse Morris feels he benefited greatly from racing on decent ground for the first time this season and hopes he can creep in towards to foot of the weights for the Easter Monday showpiece.

"If he's OK, and he is so far, he'll probably get an entry in the Irish National," said Morris.

"He went up 2lb so he'll be knocking on the door to get in but he wouldn't be guaranteed.

"If he didn't get in, I'm not sure if we'd think about the Scottish National.

"He's a different horse on better ground so we knew he was good as he'd been running well on bad ground.

"The Scottish National would be an option but it's not at the top of my head.

"He's only six so hopefully we'll be thinking of Aintree in the future."