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Gentlemansgame seeks to regain winning form

Gentlemansgame drops back in trip in a bid to return to winning ways in the Grade Two Colm Quinn BMW Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

The strapping grey was a three-mile point-to-point winner but impressed on his hurdling debut over just two at Cork in January when he bolted up by 21 lengths in a 17-runner maiden event.

Trainer Mouse Morris stepped the five-year-old up to two and three-quarter miles for a Grade One at Leopardstown’s Dublin Racing Festival in February.

Gentlemansgame did not disappoint as he took second place behind Gaillard Du Mesnil. The winner and the third home that day, Stattler, franked the form with placed efforts at the Cheltenham Festival.

Morris said: “He ran well in Leopardstown. It’s turned out to be a very good race, so I’d be hopeful for a good run.

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“There’s a bit of a question mark about the trip, but we’ll find out on Sunday.”

The County Tipperary trainer also runs Get My Drift, who got off the mark over two miles in a maiden at Leopardstown on his third start over hurdles.

“He won a nice race at Leopardstown,” he said.

“Hopefully there’s more improvement to come from both of them.”

Willie Mullins has a powerful team of four – Egality Mans, Frere Tuck, Power Of Pause and Rambranlt’jac – in the 10-strong field.

Noel Meade believes bypassing Cheltenham with Thedevilscoachman will prove a benefit when the J P McManus-owned gelding goes for Grade Two honours in the Paddy Kehoe Suspended Ceilings Novice Hurdle.

“We’re happy with him,” said Meade.

“He missed Cheltenham, so he’s fresh, and we’re happy to go there – and hopefully he has a good fighting chance.”

Thedevilscoachman is on a hat-trick after wins at Navan and Punchestown, where he took a Listed contest.

Joseph O’Brien is hoping Desir Du Large is over the problems which have restricted him to just one race since December 2018.

The eight-year-old made an encouraging return following 820 days off the track when third to Echoes In Rain in a Grade Two at Naas.

“Desir Du Large has always been a promising horse, but he hasn’t been straightforward to train,” the County Kilkenny handler told Betfair.

“He returned from a long absence to run very well in a Grade Two novice hurdle at Naas last time, and the hope is that he’ll improve from that.”

Echoes In Rain is one of three runners from the Mullins stable  in the nine-horse line-up – along with Grand Bornand and M C Muldoon.

‘Nice Christmas present’ for Mouse Morris as Get My Drift impresses at Leopardstown

Get My Drift got off the mark at the third attempt with a ready success in the ‘Join the tote.ie With A 10 Euro Risk Free Bet’ Maiden Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Third in his first two races over jumps, the Mouse Morris-trained four-year-old went two places better as he saw off 18 rivals in promising fashion.

Micro Manage, the even-money favourite, made the running to the second-last flight where Hurricane Cliff and Get My Drift looked serious challengers.

Jody McGarvey asked Get My Drift (9-2) for his effort and between the last two hurdles and soon put the race to bed.

Gee Rex made good late headway to claim second place, two and a half lengths behind the winner. Micro Manage was three and three-quarter lengths away in third.

“He’s a nice horse and he jumps well. The better ground was a help to him,” said Morris.

“I was expecting to be second, but we’ll take everything. He ran well on bottomless ground last time.

“We’ll look for a winners of one now. He’ll be better with another year under his belt.

“That’s a nice Christmas present.”

After three placed efforts Wide Receiver opened his account over the smaller obstacles in the Thorntons Recycling Maiden Hurdle.

El Barra set the early pace, but when he was headed before the third-last it looked a match between Wide Receiver and Decimation, both wearing the colours of Gigginstown House Stud.

Wide Receiver (3-1) proved the stronger and a fine jump at the final flight secured victory for Gordon Elliott’s charge.

Ridden by Jack Kennedy, the five-year-old went on to score by a length and a half. Snake Oil was eight lengths away in third place.

Wide Receiver was quoted at 40-1 for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham with Betfair.

Kennedy said: “He did it well and I think riding him more forward today really suited him.

“He had some nice runs under his belt so it was great to get his head in front.”