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Winters opts to recharge weary Rebel Fitz

TRAINER Mick Winters plans to give stable star Rebel Fitz a two-month break following his slightly disappointing display at Tipperary on Sunday.

THE Galway Hurdle hero was bidding for his fifth straight victory in the Grade Two Friends of Tipperary Hurdle, but finished a distant second behind Captain Cee Bee.

Winters feels a busy summer may have caught up with Rebel Fitz and hopes some time in the field will help his charge rediscover his best form.

While a novice chasing campaign had been discussed, the seven-year-old will remain over hurdles this season.

"I was pleased to see he was well in himself this morning and the plan now is to put a blanket on him and give him a couple of months out," the Cork handler said yesterday.

"He's been on the go all summer and maybe it has bottomed him a little bit.

"Our lad will have a nice break. I spoke to the owner last night and we've decided to stay hurdling for now.

"There are maybe a few small reasons why he didn't run up to his best and Davy (Russell, jockey) said he just ran out of petrol on the ground.

"But he's grand in himself and we'll bring him back after Christmas.

"I think he'll make a very nice two-mile chaser, but we'll probably wait until the next season starts in May to do that now.

"We might bring him back for two-and-a-half miles over hurdles and he might end up at Aintree in the two-and-a-half miler there."

Masterstroke is "unlikely" to run again this season after his fine run when third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Sunday. Trainer Andre Fabre will consult Sheikh Mohammed about plans for the Godolphin-owned colt but the French handler expects the three-year-old to be preserved for next year.

Masterstroke has won four of his seven races, but the Arc was his first start in the highest company.

Fabre said: "We will see what Sheikh Mohammed says, but I think it would be unlikely that he will run again this year. We haven't previously talked about the Breeders' Cup or Japan or anything so I can't see it."