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Questions set for Christmas party at Leopardstown

A TRIP to Leopardstown's Christmas Festival is on the cards for Questions Answered following a creditable effort in Saturday's Paddy Power Gold Cup.

The seven-year-old enjoyed an excellent start to the campaign by picking up minor honours in the Kerry and Munster Nationals and he continued his progression by finishing fifth at Cheltenham last weekend from 7lb out of the weights.

Trainer Eric McNamara believes his charge may still be improving and he is likely to go pot hunting again in Leopardstown's lucrative Paddy Power Chase.

McNamara said: "He's in excellent form. He hasn't a scrape or a scratch on him and he seems to have taken the race very well.

"I'd say it was a career-best, which is a good sign as it looks like he's still improving.

"He'll probably go to Leopardstown at Christmas for the Paddy Power Chase there. That's over three miles but I don't think he needs that. Anything from two-and-a-half to three is fine for him. Hopefully somewhere along the line he'll pick up a big pot."

Saphir River will head to Saturday's valuable Don't Settle For Less "Fixed Brush" Handicap Hurdle at Haydock.

"I think he's made for the fixed brush hurdles, as he was a close second in a Grade One at Auteuil," said trainer Lucinda Russell.

Russell's jumping prospect Bold Sir Brian, meanwhile, could take his next step in the Sportingbet Future Stars Chase at Sandown on December 7 rather than fulfil a more ambitious engagement in the William Hill King George VI Chase.

"The King George entry was a bit more speculative and if he were to run at Sandown, it would be less likely he would run at Kempton as the two races are quite close together," said Russell.

Margaret Mullins is considering the next plan of attack with Anonis following his impressive bumper victory at Cheltenham on Sunday.

The six-year-old had been sidelined by injury since being narrowly beaten in a Thurles bumper in March of last year, but produced a magnificent performance on his comeback to win what looked a warm Listed race by five lengths. Mullins is weighing up whether to give him one more run in the National Hunt Flat race sphere, or send him straight over obstacles.

She said: "He could go to Leopardstown at Christmas and run in the bumper there, or we could go straight over hurdles. He's a nice horse to have and I think he'd handle better ground as well."

Tom Gibney is still planning to run Lion Na Bearnai in the Hennessy Gold Cup Chase - although the trainer would have preferred to have been able to give this year's Irish National winner a prep run in advance.

WARWICK OFF: This afternoon's meeting at Warwick was abandoned due to a waterlogged track.

A total of 15 millimetres of rain fell at the venue overnight, forcing clerk of the course Sulekha Varma to call an 8am inspection. While initially hopeful of working around the water, they had to call off the meeting.


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