Racing: Eustace to miss prep for Cheltenham

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It is only when a horse such as Hardy Eustace starts to betray the frailty of lesser animals that you appreciate the constitution required to win at the Cheltenham Festival three years running. Yesterday Dessie Hughes admitted he is not satisfied with the champion hurdler, who is unlikely to make his appointment with Macs Joy at Gowran Park tomorrow.

"He's about 90 per cent, he definitely isn't 100 per cent," Hughes said. "We'd be anxious to run, but I'd like to see him a bit better."

Heading straight for the Festival is Monkerhostin, who misses Lingfield tomorrow due to soft ground. The authenticity of his transformation into the main British Gold Cup candidate will not be tested until the day.