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Apt set for Cheltenham

Apt Approach booked his place in Willie Mullins' team for Cheltenham with a game victory in the Matty Ryan Memorial Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles yesterday.

The Ryanair Chase and the Gold Cup itself are the Festival options for the nine-year-old, which survived a mistake at the third-last to capture this Grade Two prize.

Ruby Walsh set out to make all the running on the 9/10 shot, but his error at a crucial stage looked a costly one.

But he recovered and was soon vying for supremacy with Follow The Plan. Apt Approach then drew clear on the run-in to score by four and a quarter lengths to complete a hat-trick.

Davy Russell strengthened his grip on the lead in the Irish jump jockeys' title race with a double. Russell got Knockfierna home in the Coolmore National Hunt Sires EBF Mares Novice Chase and had earlier steered Folsom Blue (9/2) to a comfortable win in the INH Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle.

Irish Independent