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De Bromhead's grounds for Tiara doubts

HENRY DE BROMHEAD goes in search of a third consecutive Boylesports Tied Cottage Chase with last season's Grade One novice Special Tiara looking to take over from Sizing Europe, but by the trainer's own admission, he faces a big task on ground that is far from ideal, writes Niall Cronin.

An intended runner in the Champion Chase, Special Tiara was third behind Kid Cassidy and Sire De Grugy in a decent effort at Cheltenham in November but hasn't been seen since as de Bromhead searched for nicer ground.

Speaking about Sunday, the Waterford based trainer admitted: "The ground looks to be totally against him but we have aspirations of him being a Queen Mother Champion Chase runner, so he'll more than like run here in preparation for Cheltenham in March."

Champion trainer Willie Mullins had entered both Arvika Ligeonniere and Twinlight for the Grade Two two-miler but has opted to go with Arvika Ligeonniere.

The nine-year-old didn't manage to maintain his winning sequence when finishing third behind Benefficient and Hidden Cyclone at Christmas in the Dial-A-Bet, but he should be able to secure a ninth career win on this occasion with Toner D'Oudairies and Rathlin the other two runners.

Mullins also had a number of significant entries in the listed novice hurdle but he has gone with three-time bumper winner Wicklow Brave who made an impressive winning debut over hurdles at Cork at the start of the month.

Wicklow Brave faces five rivals with Lieutenant Colonel and Roll It Out the most notable pair in opposition.

Cheltenham and Punchestown winner Big Shu heads the field in the Glenfarclas PP Hogan Memorial Cross Country Chase with Paul Carberry taking over from Barry Cash who instead rides Duers for Aidan Howard.

Meanwhile, Fairyhouse will continue to monitor the ground situation ahead of their scheduled meeting tomorrow afternoon.

The ground was described as heavy, soft to heavy in places and with this morning's heavy rain due to turn to showers later, the Meath track are hopeful, but with high winds and rain forecast, the situation will be monitored.