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Connell set for Foxrock triumph

Saturday's domestic action sees two highly-competitive handicap chases take centre stage at both Leopardstown and Limerick and there could well be local connections celebrating following the Paddy Power Chase.

The aptly named Foxrock caught the attention of many in his prep run at Punchestown recently when he finished well despite the inconvenience of stumbling badly and also losing two shoes.

With owner Barry Connell, one of the biggest owners in Irish jump racing, a Foxrock resident, it would be fitting if the Ted Walsh-trained six-year-old could land one of the most prestigious handicaps on the National Hunt calendar.

Walsh won the race two years ago with Colbert Station, who is back for another crack, but the all-conquering Willie Mullins may well struggle to follow up the triumph of Rockyaboya last year with neither Dogora or Abbey Lane jumping out from the entries.

Saturday's Leopardstown card also features the Grade One Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase and the Future Champions Novices' Hurdle.

In the Dial-A-Bet, it would be a fairytale if Sizing Europe could come back and win at the top level again but his run behind Champagne Fever last time would deem that magical story very unlikely.

Willie Mullins has made the interesting move to drop Ballycasey back in trip for the first time since he won his beginners' chase and it's hard to argue with the champion trainer and the horse certainly has loads of class so he gets the nod over Hidden Cyclone and Bright New Dawn.

The entries for the Future Champions are hard to unravel at the moment as they are dominated by Gigginstown-owned and Willie Mullins-trained horses so it will all depend on what pitches up, but Douvan and Tell Us More are two horses that catch the eye - both of whom are Mullins trained.


With declarations for Saturday's cards not made until Friday morning, it is hard to assess what may run where, but in Limerick it would be a huge surprise if Willie Austin looked beyond the Tim Duggan with Blacklough.

Austin only has Blacklough entered in this race and he is a trainer that has his fare share of this meeting over the years and Blacklough looks like it could give him the feature on day two.

A winner at Listowel's Harvest Festival earlier in the campaign, Blacklough wasn't disgraced when stepped up to Grade One level last time out and off a mark of 128 he looks well treated in handicap company.

Jim Dreaper's Venitien De Mai is another to keep an eye on at Limerick. He's entered in the maiden hurdle and comes with a good reputation from the point to point fields.

He made a likeable debut on the track at Clonmel and can be expected to come on for that outing and win on this occasion if taking his chance.

Enda Bolger targets the Limerick Hunters Chase with Wish Ye Didn't who ran a blinder over the Punchestown banks last time and should be up to winning this in the colours of JP McManus.