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War is on march to Aintree adieu

War Of Attrition, the 2006 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner is expected to have three more runs before he is retired with the Aintree Grand National still expected to be his final run of a glittering career.

The Mouse Morris-trained 11-year-old could even be in action this weekend -- weather permitting -- as the Tipperary handler gave his stable star an entry in the totesport.com Masters Handicap Chase at Sandown, which could be one of two runs before Aintree in April, which Morris expects to be his swansong.

"It depends on the weather," said Morris. "He will either run at Sandown or in Navan in the Boyne Hurdle the following weekend. He's in good fettle and I've put him in the National; I would like to get two runs into him before Aintree."


War Of Attrition returned to winning ways at Gowran Park last month on Thyestes Chase day when he landed the Grade Two Galmoy Hurdle, and although holding an entry for the World Hurdle at Cheltenham, that appears an unlikely target.

"I wouldn't mind getting a run into him over fences but there's nothing much chase-wise for him over here so we'll have to see. I put him in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham but I wouldn't think he'd go for that."

Meanwhile, Dunguib remains on course for his final prep run before the Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham following today's five-day forfeit stage for the Deloitte Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday.

Henry de Bromhead's Loosen My Load was due to be a notable absentee as he heads straight to Cheltenham but, speaking yesterday, Philip Fenton revealed that his superstar is "as well as we can have him" ahead of his second Grade One test over hurdles.

"We'd like to think that he's good enough to win on Sunday and he's as well as we can have him," Fenton said.

"He's certainly not overtrained for Sunday, I assure you that, and then we can go straight from Sunday to Cheltenham. The ground at Leopardstown will be as nice as he's had it all year; it should be lovely ground and he's fresh, well and ready to roll."

Another Cheltenham Festival hopeful, Captain Cee Bee, is also due to have his final run before heading to the Cotswolds. A faller when about to push Sizing Europe all the way at Leopardstown over Christmas, the Edward Harty-trained former Supreme Novices Hurdle winner is now disputing favouritism with Sizing Europe for the Arkle since that run.

Captain Cee Bee is included in the Opera Hat Novices Chase where he will face a maximum of nine rivals for the 2m contest.

Harty said: "I am very happy with Captain Cee Bee and all going well the Arkle is the plan after Saturday. He has schooled since at the Curragh and I've been happy with him so fingers crossed he'll enjoy a clear round at Naas."