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Hanlon's hopes high for Lad at Trial

John Hanlon is expecting a big run from Luska Lad in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park on Saturday.

The six-year-old is coming out of novice company to take on seasoned campaigners on unfavourable terms, but the Co Carlow trainer believes it is worth the gamble as Luska Lad will be suited by going right-handed.

"He's in great form and we are giving him his chance. It's right-handed and he's much better going that way," said Hanlon.

"That will suit him and we are hoping for a big run.

"He was back to winning at Punchestown the last day. I know he fell at Naas the previous time, but he had not done an awful lot wrong.

"He's running against older horses and there are some in there rated 20lb higher than him but we just think he's that much better going this way, so we are going to take our chance."

It is no surprise, therefore, that Hanlon has ruled out the Cheltenham Festival for which he holds entries in both the Spinal Research Supreme Novices' Hurdle and Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.


"He won't be going to Cheltenham. He'll go to Fairyhouse in early April and on to Punchestown for the two big novice races over two miles and after that he'll have a break," Hanlon went on.

"We want to keep him going right-handed for this year anyway.

"All the races he has won so far have been over two miles so we'll stick to that."

Dessie Hughes, meanwhile, is anticipating a bold show from Siegemaster in the Red Mills Chase.

The nine-year-old has yet to finish out of the money in four starts this season, running a fine race to finish third in last month's Thyestes Chase under a big weight.

He holds an entry in Newbury's Aon Chase on the same day, but is set to stay at home and avoid a clash with the mighty Denman.

"He's going to head to Gowran Park all being well and he seems in good form," said Hughes.

"He ran well in the Thyestes to finish third and the form looks good with the winner (Whinstone Boy) coming out and winning again.

"Our horse goes in any ground and although there are one or two rated higher than him on Saturday, I don't think he's badly handicapped and he should run well. Long-term he will probably end up in the Irish National."