Tuesday 24 October 2017

Listener on Durkan trail

The Listener with trainer Nick Mitchell. Photo: PA
The Listener with trainer Nick Mitchell. Photo: PA

The Listener is on course to make his return from injury in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown on December 5.

Nick Mitchell's 11-year-old grey only ran once last season, winning the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal by 15 lengths, but it later transpired he had suffered a tendon injury.

That victory was his fourth at the highest level, all coming in Ireland, with his other wins arriving in the 2006 Lexus Chase, the 2007 John Durkan and the 2008 Irish Hennessy when trained by Robert Alner.

"He's in good form, he's in full work and has been for six weeks now," said Mitchell.

"Touch-wood, there has been no problems and the leg looks fine. He looks fantastic and we are hoping that if things go well from now on he should be ready in plenty of time for the John Durkan in early December.

"He may be 11 but he's not got that many miles on the clock, he's only had 28 runs in his whole life and he's never been abused.

"It was a big boost to see Monet's Garden winning Grade Ones at 11 last year, and he's another by Roselier so it filled me with good heart when I saw that.

"He looked better than ever in the John Durkan last year and Andrew (McNamara) was full of praise for him afterwards so it was so unfortunate the injury showed up but we got it at an early stage.

"We'll keep sending him to Ireland for the ground, even more so now. When he was younger we were inclined to take a chance on quicker ground sort of knowing he couldn't win one purely because his options were so few and far between.

"We won't anymore."

Press Association

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport