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Leopardstown chief 'hopeful'

OFFICIALS at Leopardstown remain optimistic that Sunday's high-profile meeting will go ahead.

The course was inspected yesterday afternoon and officials found that the overnight frost that hit the track had not cleared from some sections of both the chase and hurdle courses.

However, temperatures are due to rise today, tomorrow and Sunday and Leopardstown general manager Tom Burke is hopeful the card -- featuring the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle -- will manage to beat the elements.

"I think if we get the daytime temperatures they are forecasting for Saturday and Sunday, we should be okay," said Burke.

"We'll just have to keep monitoring things on a daily basis. We could get some cloud cover on Friday night, which could help us as well."

Master Minded faces eight rivals at Ascot

MASTER MINDED features among a field of nine runners for the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot tomorrow.

The dual Champion Chase hero has enjoyed a fantastic start to the campaign, destroying his rivals in the Amlin 1965 Chase before following up in equally impressive style in the Tingle Creek at Cheltenham.

Five horses that took him on in the Tingle -- Petit Robin (second), Somersby (third), I'm So Lucky (fourth), Gauvain (fifth) and Kalahari King (seventh) -- will be bidding to reverse that form tomorrow.

Master Minded's trainer Paul Nicholls will also saddle Tchico Polos, while Petit Robin's handler Nicky Henderson also fires two shots at the race as he also runs Mad Max.

Crack Away Jack is an interesting contender for Emma Lavelle, making his comeback from injury after over a year on the sidelines.

Irish Independent