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Sydney team harbour hopes of Paddy Power Chase

WELSH National favourite Sydney Paget has alternatives including a potential trip here to Ireland as he pursues even greater riches following his easy victory at Haydock on Saturday.

The valuable Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas is among a clutch of engagements open to the Donald McCain-trained six-year-old, who won a strong handicap chase on Merseyside by nearly three lengths. As well as the Coral-sponsored marathon at Chepstow on December 28, a return to Haydock for the Tommy Whittle Chase a week earlier is also an option.

The Cholmondeley handler said: "The Welsh National will definitely be considered, but he'll also have entries in the Tommy Whittle and the Paddy Power Chase, which is worth an absolute fortune, in Ireland.

"With the Welsh National, if Tidal Bay (top weight) runs it will be very tempting, but he's also a horse that we'd like to take back to Haydock given the way he won."

Sydney Paget heads the sponsor's betting for the Welsh National at 10/1 after the weights were released, with Highland Lodge and the Irish-trained Goonyella (from 16/1) the 12/1 joint second-favourites.

Spokesman David Stevens said: "Sydney Paget was a 20/1 shot prior to his win at Haydock at the weekend, but went to the head of the betting as a result of that success, and even a 13lb hike in the ratings might not prevent him following up at Chepstow given the high regard trainer Donald McCain has for his charge.

"Goonyella has been the main market mover, his trainer Jim Dreaper became the first Irish-based handler to win the Coral Welsh National with Notre Pere five years ago, and Goonyella is another who should relish the stamina test this race provides."