Marine Nationale may now make festive chasing debut

Marine Nationale’s chasing debut could be delayed until Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival due to the prevailing wet weather and testing conditions.

The six-year-old is unbeaten in five starts for owner-trainer Barry Connell and was last seen beating Facile Vega in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

He is set to embark on a career over the larger obstacles this term and Connell had been considering a beginners chase at Navan next weekend as a starting point, but is now having a change of heart.

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“I won’t run him at Navan if the ground is like this,” he said at Naas on Sunday.

“He’s ground dependent and I might wait until Leopardstown at Christmas. I don’t want to give him a grueller at the start of the season.

“He’s a light-framed horse and he’d be lost on that ground today.

“If we have to wait until Leopardstown at Christmas that’s fine, as he went to Cheltenham last year on the back of two runs, so that’s not a big issue.

“There is a two mile and one (furlong) beginners at Leopardstown and then he could go to the Dublin Racing Festival and Cheltenham.”

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