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Glynn hires old friend Fallon

Kieren Fallon will have only his second ever ride in next month's Weatherbys Champion Bumper on the Noel Glynn-trained Old McDonald.

The six-times champion jockey rode Jonjo O'Neill's Refinement to finish fourth behind Missed That at the Cheltenham Festival in 2005 and will return to Prestbury Park on March 17.

Old McDonald opened his account at the third attempt at Ludlow in December and Glynn is delighted to have secured Fallon's services.

"We are from the same parish in County Clare and Kieren was a neighbour of mine, so I decided to get him booked and I couldn't have got much better," said Glynn.

"I have 14 horses riding out at the moment and my only Cheltenham runner I've ever had was a horse that ran in the Triumph Hurdle years ago.

"This year I'll hopefully have Old McDonald and Becauseicouldntsee, who will hopefully run in the four-miler (National Hunt Chase) on the same day. Hopefully it will be a great day and as an owner and a trainer, Cheltenham is what you dream about."

Western Leader continued his rise through the ranks with a hugely impressive success in the Grade Two Michael Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle at Thurles.

The 4/1 chance was sent straight to the head of affairs by Conor O'Farrell and had many of his rivals in trouble as the pace increased heading down the back straight. He said:

"That's three Grade Two's now in six weeks (two for Luska Lad) so we're not going too bad. He was very good there and he'll probably now go to Aintree for the two-and-a-half or three-miler.

Vino Griego could book his Cheltenham Festival ticket with a prominent showing in the williamhill.com Dovecote Novices' Hurdle at Kempton on Saturday. Having finished third in a Grade Two event at Sandown in December, the five-year-old made the most of a drop in class to score as he liked at Wincanton last time.

Trainer Gary Moore admits he has more on his plate this weekend but is hopeful his charge can make his presence felt.

"We thought about going to the Champion Bumper last year after he won at Ascot but hopefully this time he will get his chance if he runs well on Saturday." said Moore.

Sean Curran is looking forward to putting Iris De Balme back over fences in the totesport.com Eider Handicap Chase at Newcastle on Saturday.

The 10-year-old won the Scottish National in April 2008 but he suffered a tendon injury following his fourth place in the bet365 Gold Cup later that month.

Off the track for almost two years, Iris De Balme made his return over hurdles at Wetherby three weeks ago and Curran reports his stable star to be on top form ahead of Saturday's stamina test.

"It was very pleasing at Wetherby. I was surprised he was still in the race at the second last. He put in a good comeback," he said.

"He's come on a lot for it and I schooled him myself on Wednesday. He jumped grand over fences.

"He'll strip a lot fitter on Saturday. It's all systems go as long as it's on."

Madison Du Berlais heads a final field of 14 runners in Saturday's Racing Post Chase at Kempton with leading contender Possol a notable absentee.

Possol's trainer Henry Daly warned earlier in the week that his charge could miss the weekend feature if the ground was unsuitably soft and the Grand National contender will not be heading to Sunbury.