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Nolan delays Noble Prince Cheltenham call

Paul Nolan will not decide until later in the week if he will run Noble Prince in Saturday's prestigious Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

The Cheltenham Festival hero, who returned with a winning seasonal debut at Naas at the end of last month, has a couple of options including Punchestown next month.

Nolan said yesterday: "We have left him in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and a decision whether he runs will be made later in the week. We wanted to have the chance to make the decision so decided to confirm him."

Noble Prince faced just two other rivals when winning the Poplar Square Chase and can be expected to get a much truer run race wherever he does run next.

Nolan reported that he has been happy with his star since his Naas win.

"I'm very pleased with him and the horses seems to be in very good shape," he said. "It was a nice introduction to the season for him considering that he fell on his last run over fences.

"I couldn't have been happier with his jumping albeit was just a school around."

Nolan appears keen to run at Cheltenham this weekend if he is to run at Christmas as delaying his next run until Punchestown may prevent him reappearing at the end of next month.

"The John Durkan at Punchestown is another alternative," revealed Nolan. "But this year it is a week closer to Christmas (December 11), which isn't ideal with a view to running in a Grade One then.

"Later than normal in previous years tightens up the schedule and if we wait for the John Durkan, we might be ruling out Christmas."

Sponsors Paddy Power make Noble Prince a 10/1 shot for the 2m4f contest which also sees Irish possibilities in Loosen My Load, Finger Onthe Pulse and Norther Bay.

The ground at Cheltenham for the weekend action, which also features Sunday's Greatwood Hurdle, is described as good, good-to-firm in places for the hurdle and chase course.

Nolan concluded: "We will decide the best plan and if we come to Cheltenham, ideally everyone would be pleased to see a bit of good to soft ground."

Four Irish contenders also remain in the Greatwood Hurdle, with Galway Hurdle winner Moon Dice being joined by the Charles Byrnes-trained Jack Cool, Willie Mullins' Inspector Clouseau and Tom Cooper's Eightybarackstreet.

Meanwhile, at Naas this weekend the listed Fishery Lane Hurdle looks an interesting one with recent Naas winner Owega Star set to face the likes of Triumph Hurdle runner-up Unaccompanied and decent bumper sort Jenari who was second on his debut over hurdles.