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Campbonnais can lead O'Leary team in National

Ryanair supremo Michael O'Leary is well represented in the Midlands National that he sponsors via his Gigginstown House Stud banner at his local track in Kilbeggan this evening.

Of the 14-strong field, Campbonnais, Hangover and Politeo will all carry O'Leary's maroon and white silks, while the first reserve Guts For Garters is also in his ownership. Each of the four is in the care of a different handler.

Campbonnais, which has won two of its last three starts for Charles Byrnes, is the choice of Davy Russell, and the improving six-year-old could take plenty of beating in the €32,500 feature.

Successful in a beginners' event over today's trip of two miles and six furlongs at Fairyhouse's Easter meeting, Campbonnais won going away on his handicap debut off a mark of 112 at Roscommon last time.

He is up 11lbs for that here, but there could be more to come from him.

With top-weight Harold's Cross now a massive 29lb higher than when he recorded the first of three successive wins back in May, Future All Star, second at the Westmeath venue on his most recent outing in June, may be the one to give the selection most to do.

In the light of Ruby Walsh's latest injury jinx, perennial championship runner-up Russell has a fine chance to capitalise in his absence. Of the Youghal native's five rides tonight, he could also land an opening race double for Longford-based Paul Flynn.

Rusty Halo is the duo's representative in the two-mile maiden hurdle.

Although well beaten on the Flat at Roscommon in June, the grey had previously turned in a decent effort to be third over course and distance and he looks a more reliable option than Mejd, which has now gone eight hurdling starts with getting its head in front.

Flynn's Crevelea Lass' reappearance third at Wexford is also enough to recommend her in the mares' maiden, while Trendelenburg is strongly fancied to deny the Russell-ridden Crude in the beginners' chase.

Four times a winner over hurdles since January, Gordon Elliott's Definite Article gelding should be better for his placed effort here on his fencing debut in June.

Irish Independent