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Bygones to bypass Leopardstown for Lanzarote

Bygones Of Brid will bypass Sunday's MCR Hurdle at Leopardstown and instead head for the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton on January 15.

The eight-year-old would have been forced to shoulder top weight in the Leopardstown contest, conceding upwards of 6lb to all of his rivals, a task trainer Karen McLintock was not keen on undertaking.

Instead, the Fighting Fifth fourth will more than likely head for the Lanzarote Hurdle having had a pipe-opener on the all-weather in a bumper at Southwell last week. "I scratched him from the Irish race, I thought he would have had a lower handicap mark," said McLintock. "I'm thinking about the Lanzarote now for him as it would have been too tough for him giving all that weight away.

"He would have loved the soft ground, that's why I entered him. He ran really well at Newbury, especially because it is a flat track and the ground wasn't soft, but he could have done with a wee bit further."

Meanwhile, Ashkazar will have an entry for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle after his victory at Cheltenham on Saturday.

With the staying hurdle division in need of fresh blood due to Big Buck's dominance, there could be a new kid on the block.

David Pipe's seven-year-old has been a bit hit-and-miss since his juvenile campaign, when he won the Imperial Cup and finished second in the Fred Winter. He signed off last season with two wins but, as a result, his handicap mark soared back up to 155.

Off just 2lb lower at the weekend, and running over three miles for the first time, the David Johnson-owned gelding stayed on determinedly under Timmy Murphy to beat stablemates Junior and Chartreux.

"It was great to see him win. It was a good performance under top weight over that trip," said Pipe. "I'll have to see what the handicapper does so we're in his hands, but I'm sure he'll be entered for the World Hurdle now.

"Junior is a cracking horse and he'll be entered in everything, over hurdles and fences. Chartreux also ran a really good race and will be a nice chaser of the future."

Irish Independent