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Limestone looks a hard one to crack

Punters will be threading very cautiously at Naas this afternoon following a dreadful run for favourite backers at the track's last meeting here a couple of weeks ago.

On a historic first Grade One day for the track, there were three odds-on favourites turned over including a 1/7 shot in the first three races at the last Naas meeting and the feature Limestone Lad Hurdle will prove a difficult puzzle to solve.

The Willie Mullins trained Glens Melody is a mare with proven Grade One form to her name, while Pat Shanahan's King Of The Picts also has some good runs to his name, just falling short of Hurricane Fly and The New One recently.

The unknown quantity in the field is Edward O'Grady's five-year-old Kitten Rock who is a four-time winner in Ireland but his two runs and victories this season have been extremely impressive and led the trainer to give him a Champion Hurdle entry.

O'Grady is looking forward to seeing how he'll take the next challenge.

"You have got to be happy with what he has done so far this season," he said.

"He looks high in the handicap, so at this stage we thought he deserved an entry in the Champion Hurdle. I think he is a better horse on soft ground."

Looking towards Leopardstown tomorrow and Willie Mullins will be delighted that Vautour faces a rather straightforward assignment as he bids to get back to winning ways after a seemingly off-day against Clarcam over Christmas.

Clarcam is certainly a worthy Grade One horse in his own right but so far was Vautour beaten that he surely wasn't right and taking on Real Steal and Aladdin's Cave, last year's Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner, HE should be able to stamp his authority in the Killiney Novice Chase.

Bookmakers BoyleSports sponsor the two major handicaps on the card and trainer Jessica Harrington goes into the BoyleSports Hurdle with a formiddable duo in Rock The World and Modem.

Harrington, who will return to Leopardstown next weekend with Jezki for the Irish Champion Hurdle, is hopeful of winning the Boylesports for a third time in a decade.

"Rock The World has done very well this year, he seems to have grown up and matured. He's running off 6lb higher than when he was beaten at Christmas but the faster they go in this race the better," the Kildare trainer revealed.

"Modem is very inexperienced and he's really only had three runs over hurdles. In a big handicap, that may stand against him, but he's a hardy horse with a light weight on his back.

"Because he's not very big, he should run well."


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