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De Bromhead ready to unleash Dream

CHELTENHAM Festival winner Berties Dream (pictured) is set to have his first start for Henry de Bromhead at Thurles tomorrow.

Winner of the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle in 2010 for Paul John Gilligan, he was last seen pulling up in France after finishing just over eight lengths behind Big Buck's in the World Hurdle in March.

He holds entries in the www.thurlesraces.ie Beginners Chase and the Premier County Hurdle, with a run over timber more likely.

"I'd say he will possibly run in the conditions hurdle. With his rating, it would be a nice race to start off in," said De Bromhead .

"I'm not sure yet (if he will go chasing) - it's a possibility and we'll see after Thursday. He schooled over fences in Tipperary recently and jumped well. The lads just want to get him running. The ground is pretty good down there so we thought we would start in the hurdle and get a run into him. We'll see how he gets on. He seems in good form and is working OK."

Portland winner Nocturnal Affair will step out of handicap company for the Listed Mercury Stakes at Dundalk on Friday night.

David Marnane's South African import will be pressed back into action quickly following his dead-heat fifth behind Sirius Prospect in the Coral Sprint Trophy at York.

Among his potential rivals in the five-furlong all-weather event are Mark Johnston's Rockingham Stakes winner Bannock and three other juveniles who receive a healthy weight allowance.

"Nocturnal Affair, ranked the highest horse of the home-trained brigade on a mark of 105, returned from York in good order and has pleased us all since," Marnane said.

"His work has been solid and he remains in good condition despite his forays across the Irish Sea for two tough races in hotly contested sprint handicaps, since making his Irish debut in late August.

"We're hopeful he'll handle the Polytrack (on) Friday night, as the surface is similar to Meydan's Tapeta, where he put up a couple of respectable efforts earlier in the year at the Dubai Carnival."

Neil Mulholland is giving the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal on November 5 "serious" consideration for his stable star Midnight Chase.

The nine-year-old was a revelation last season, winning four in a row before finishing fifth in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

The options for the Lady Clarke-owned chaser include the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby or the star-studded Betfair Chase at Haydock, but Mulholland fancies a crack at the Grade One in Ireland.

"We're looking at Down Royal very seriously as it's a front-runners' track," he said. "It all depends on the ground really, hopefully the ground will be nice. He'd definitely be going there as one of the main contenders.

"We don't have that many options really. There's the Charlie Hall or the Betfair at Haydock. That would mean taking on Long Run and Kauto Star, though. I grew up just eight miles from Down Royal so I've followed the race and there's never many runners. Kauto has won it twice in the last three years. He beat Sizing Europe in it last year and he's a two-miler."