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Pady excels in Curragh test

Forpadydeplasterer moved a step closer to lining up in the Queen Mother Champion Chase after coming through a workout on the Curragh with flying colours.

Last year's Arkle hero will now have a schooling session after racing at Leopardstown on February 28 before being given the green light to tackle Master Minded and company.

Mark Fallon, a member of the Goat Syndicate who own the gelding, said: "The work out went very well. He was partnered by Paddy Flood and it was a serious piece of work at a strong pace over around 12 furlongs. He was happy with the way Pady went and we now have our fingers crossed that he will eat up and come out of it sound.

"We don't want to count our chickens, but if he is OK then it's on to Leopardstown for a schooling session and then, if that goes well, it will be all systems go for Cheltenham."

Nicky Henderson has no regrets about running Zaynar at Kelso on Thursday despite his long odds-on reverse in the Victor Chandler Morebattle Hurdle.

The five-year-old was sent off the 1/14 favourite to maintain his unbeaten record over hurdles but could only finish a length behind Howard Johnson's Quwetwo.

Having occupied the top spot in many ante-post lists for the Champion Hurdle on Thursday morning, he is now as big as 8/1 with some firms, but Henderson has warned he should not be written off.

"I suppose you could compare what happened with Zaynar yesterday to what happened to Punjabi before he won the Champion Hurdle last year," said Henderson.

"The horse stayed in Kelso overnight so I haven't seen him yet, but did I wake up this morning and wish I hadn't run? The answer is no. When I arrived at Kelso, I would have been happy to send him straight for the Champion Hurdle and wouldn't have bothered with another run.

"I thought he was working well at home but he blew up and Barry (Geraghty) said if we hadn't ran him, he would have blown up at the top of the hill at Cheltenham, never mind at the second last.

"The ground wasn't ideal and there was mud all the way up his white legs.

"They obviously think the world of the winner and I have no regrets about running."

Nigel Twiston-Davies reports Khyber Kim to be in fine shape ahead of next month's Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle.

The eight-year-old is a leading contender for the Cheltenham showpiece thanks to being unbeaten in two starts, both at the Prestbury Park track.

Even so, he is a top-priced 9/1 after wins in the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle and the Boylesports.com International.

"Our horse has done everything right this season and we are looking forward to the big day," said the Naunton trainer.

Twiston-Davies was as surprised as anyone by the shock defeat of Zaynar at Kelso.

"I thought Zaynar might need three miles by the look of it yesterday, but we'll see," he added.


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