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Lord Windermere to go for Lexus


Davy Russell riding Lord Windermere

Davy Russell riding Lord Windermere

Davy Russell riding Lord Windermere

Reigning Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Lord Windermere is one of the star names among 29 entries for the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown on December 28.

Jim Culloty's two-time Cheltenham Festival winner broke his fencing duck at this meeting in 2012 and he will be out to prove his win in the blue riband was no fluke.

Lord Windermere was no match for the 2013 Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth in last year's renewal and Nicky Henderson's nine-year-old is another possible.

A short head separated Lord Windermere and On His Own in a dramatic Gold Cup in March and the latter is one of six Willie Mullins representatives boasting an entry.

The master of County Carlow can also choose from recent Gowran Park scorer Ballycasey, Boston Bob, Champagne Fever, Djakadam and Turban.

Paul Nicholls has a good recent record in the race, with Denman, What A Friend and Tidal Bay all on the scoresheet and he could run Rocky Creek, who was lacklustre in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury last weekend.

Last season's Crabbie's Grand National fifth is one of 11 UK entries and Nicholls also has the option of running Betfair Chase winner Silviniaco Conti and Sam Winner.

Jonjo O'Neill is no stranger to success in the E150,000 feature and his Irish Grand National winner Shutthefrontdoor could be given the chance to follow in similar hoof prints to 2011 winner Synchronised.

His stable companion and leading Gold Cup contender Holywell is another possible, while the remaining UK entries are Donald McCain's Corrin Wood, the Kim Bailey-trained Harry Topper, Henderson's Ma Filleule, Oliver Sherwood's Hennessy victor Many Clouds and Alan King's Medermit.

Gordon Elliott's Don Cossack was a Grade Two winner at Down Royal last time out and he is another interesting contender.

The same can be said of Bright New Dawn, who represents Grade One-winning trainer Sandra Hughes.