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Hughes hopes Colonel can handle hike

DESSIE HUGHES is relishing the prospect of seeing Lieutenant Colonel test his powers over a longer trip in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday week.

The five-year-old has won twice from four career starts over two miles, filling the runner-up spot on his other two appearances behind two of Willie Mullins' leading hopes for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in Vautour and Wicklow Brave.

Lieutenant Colonel will now tackle two miles and five furlongs, and Hughes said: "He's fine at the moment and his preparation has been first class. Two miles looked too sharp for him in Punchestown, so we hope there will be improvement going up in trip."