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Sams Profile to miss Stayers’ Hurdle

Sams Profile will miss the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham after suffering a setback.

The Mouse Morris-trained seven-year-old earned himself a shot at the feature event on day three of the Festival with a battling victory in the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park last month.

Morris, who won the Stayers’ Hurdle with Trapper John in 1990, has confirmed Sams Profile will not be able to take up his engagement – but he hopes he will return to competitive action before the end of the season.

“He’s picked up a hind leg infection, so he won’t be ready for Cheltenham,” said the Fethard-based trainer.

“It’s disappointing, because he was going there with a chance, but that’s just the way he is – he’s that type of horse (that picks up problems).

“Hopefully he won’t be out for too long – we can look at Fairyhouse and Punchestown, hopefully.”

Gentlemansgame not certain to head to Cheltenham Festival

Mouse Morris has warned punters to “hold their powder” when it comes to backing the promising Gentlemansgame at the Cheltenham Festival.

Having just his second start under Rules, the five-year-old finished a creditable second to the impressive Gaillard Du Mesnil in the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown on Saturday.

As a result he is now among the favourites for next month’s Albert Bartlett, but even if he does make the journey to Cheltenham, Morris slightly favours the shorter Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at this stage.

“I was delighted with him, I really was,” said Morris.

“But whether he travels (to Cheltenham), we’ll have to see. I just don’t know yet.

“If he goes he’d probably run over two-five, as the three-mile race has a gruelling reputation. It can leave a mark.

“No one seems to know what is happening with the travelling yet, either.

“I certainly won’t be rushing him this season, he’s an out-and-out chaser. We’ll keep all options open, it’s just a bit early to commit to anything yet.

“He’d be more unlikely than likely, I think. I’d be holding my powder, that’s what I’d be advising them to do.”

Gold Cup-winning trainer Morris will still be represented at the Festival this season by Sams Profile in the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle.

“If he’s sound on the day, he’ll go,” said Morris.

“It was good to see him win, he was good in the Galmoy.

“He’s already been to Cheltenham and run well, so we’ve no worries on that score.”

Acapella Bourgeois out to give connections back-to-back Thyestes victories

Acapella Bourgeois bids to provide his owners with back-to-back victories in the Goffs Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park on Thursday.

The Willie Mullins-trained 11-year-old carries the colours of the Slaneyville Syndicate, who landed the prestigious handicap 12 months ago with the now-retired Total Recall.

Acapella Bourgeois could finish only sixth when well-fancied for last year’s renewal, since when he has won the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse and finished second to his Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning stablemate Al Boum Photo at Tramore on New Year’s Day, just as he did last season.

The veteran must concede weight all round under champion jockey Paul Townend, who has sided with him over four of his stable companions.

Lar Byrne, who is part of the Slaneyville Syndicate along with members of his family, has enjoyed plenty of success as an owner, most notably with the tough-as-teak dual Champion Hurdle winner Hardy Eustace.

He said: “We’re looking forward to Thursday. It’s a shame we won’t be able to be there, but we’ll all be watching on from home.

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“Acapella had a very good run in Tramore on New Year’s Day – finishing second to Al Boum Photo again. We were very happy with the run.

“He’s carrying top-weight, but he appears to be in very good form. He’s ticking the boxes, but it’s a big ask.

“He’s getting on in years, but we said the same about Total Recall last year and he went and won it as an an 11-year-old.

“It’s going to be tough, but he’s going into the race healthy and well and we’re hoping for the best.”

Mullins, who has saddled four of the last seven winners of the biggest race of the season at his local track, is also represented by Brahma Bull, Cabaret Queen, last year’s runner-up Class Conti and Saturnas.

Willie Mullins has a strong hand in the Thyestes Chase
Willie Mullins has a strong hand in the Thyestes Chase (Simon Cooper/PA)

Gordon Elliott declared six runners, with Alpha Des Obeaux, Roaring Bull, Dounikos, Coko Beach and Run Wild Fred joined by second reserve Aforementioned.

Other contenders include Henry de Bromhead’s Spyglass Hill and the Ted Walsh-trained Any Second Now.

The main supporting race is the Grade Two John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle, in which Mullins runs Bacardys, Burrows Saint, Scarpeta and Great White Shark. The latter is particularly interesting on her first competitive start since winning the Cesarewitch at Newmarket.

Mouse Morris is keeping his fingers crossed for a bold showing from Sams Profile, who reverts to hurdling following a couple of spins over fences since returning from a lengthy absence.

Sams Profile (right) chases home Reserve Tank at Punchestown
Sams Profile (right) chases home Reserve Tank at Punchestown (PA)

The seven-year-old was narrowly beaten in a Grade One novice hurdle at the 2019 Punchestown Festival, but was not seen again until falling on his chasing bow at Thurles in November.

He ran with plenty of credit when third behind behind the exciting Monkfish at Fairyhouse nine days later, after which he was found to be suffering from a minor injury.

Morris said: “It’s got too late in the season to be trying to win a beginners’ chase, so we thought we’d switch him back to hurdles.

“He ran a very good race at Fairyhouse, considering he had a fractured rib. He’d obviously picked that up in the fall at Thurles and we didn’t find it until after he ran the last day.

“We’ll see how we go on Thursday.”