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Colonel to call rank for Hughes

The Hatton's Grace Hurdle triumph of Lieutenant Colonel was an understandably emotional one for all concerned as it came so soon after the death of Dessie Hughes but his daughter Sandra and their team can continue to bring big race success to the Curragh yard with Lieutenant Colonel tomorrow in the Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle.

Sandra Hughes was the first to admit at Fairyhouse that the task was made easier by the exit of Zaidpour who is one of three Willie Mullins trained runners in the race tomorrow.

Monksland makes a welcome return to the track having not been seen since winning the race two years ago and At Fishers Cross makes the trip over for Rebecca Curtis.

Lieutenant Colonel may still have plenty to find on ratings and with Briar Hill priced up at just 5/2 despite being the apparent third string on jockey bookings, it looks a real competitive renewal of the race but the Gigginstown horse could still be a progressive type as he is only a five-year-old and he's worth siding with on this occasion.

A potential Gigginstown double could be instigated in the opener with Identity Thief making his hurdling debut for Henry de Bromhead after bolting up in a good Fairyhouse bumper on Hatton's Grace weekend.

The terrific run of form of Gordon Elliott's horses can continue in the beginners chase with Balbir Du Mathan selected over Le Vent D'Antan and Un Atout.


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