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McManus has magnificent seven set for Grimes Hurdle duty

Owner JP McManus is going all out to win the Kevin McManus Bookmaker Grimes Hurdle he sponsors by providing seven of the nine runners for the Grade Three heat at Tipperary on Thursday.

A Wave Of The Sea, Band Of Outlaws, Darasso, Hearts Are Trumps, Magic Tricks, Modus and Winter Escape give him a formidable hand in the two-mile contest.

His racing manager Frank Berry explained it was an obvious race for the team to support.

“They do a good job with the watering at Tipperary and the boss sponsors the race – it’s nice to be able to support it,” he said.

Berry went through the contenders starting with the first-three named, who are all trained Joseph O’Brien.

Joseph O’Brien saddles three runners in the Grimes Hurdle
Joseph O’Brien saddles three runners in the Grimes Hurdle (Simon Cooper/PA)

“A Wave Of The Sea had a little break and Joseph says he’s in good form so we’ll see how he runs,” he said.

“Band Of Outlaws has had a long break and has had plenty of problems in the meantime. He ran nicely on his comeback on the Flat so hopefully he’ll come on again and run well.

“Darasso has found his form again. He was going through a bad spell, running disappointingly, but he won nicely in Killarney and put up a good performance in a chase at Listowel so hopefully he’ll be very competitive.”

Modus has his first run for Edna Bolger following his move from Paul Nicholls’ stable in Ditcheat.

“He had his problems over the years and it’s a good starting point for Edna and hopefully he’ll get round safe and sound,” said Berry.

Winter Escape is ready to have his first run since September
Winter Escape is ready to have his first run since September (Mike Egerton/PA)

Winter Escape, trained by Aidan Howard, has his first start since winning over fences at Listowel in September.

“He’s back in good form again, he should improve for the run and we hope he runs a nice race,” he said.

The Desmond McDonogh-trained Hearts Are Trumps and Denise Foster’s Magic Tricks were first and second in a valuable 20-runner handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse in April.

“Hearts Are Trumps is a very consistent little horse and never runs a bad race. The trainer is very happy with him so hopefully he’ll run nicely.

“Magic Tricks was disappointing at Punchestown the last day for some reason so he needs to bounce back and see where we are with him.”

The McManus seven may not necessarily have things entirely their own way, as Norman Lee’s Sole Pretender was a good winner at Cork in April and was fifth in the Champion Stayers’ Hurdle at Punchestown on his latest start.

Recent Curragh handicap winner Effernock Fizz, trained by Katy Brown, completes the line-up.