Racing: Dunwoody to try his Luc

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RICHARD DUNWOODY will ride Challenger Du Luc for Martin Pipe in Saturday's Murphy's Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham. Dunwoody won the same race on Challenger Du Luc in 1996. The eight-year-old is 14-1 with William Hill for the two-and-a-half-mile contest.

Pipe's four other entries in the Murphy's include William Hill's 5-2 favourite, Cyfor Malta, the likely mount of Tony McCoy. The trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies is aiming Queen Of Spades at the Murphy's. Carl Llewellyn rides. Queen Of Spades is 10-1 with William Hill.

Dato Star will returns to hurdling after finishing third in the November Handicap at Doncaster on Saturday. Malcolm Jefferson, his trainer, has pencilled in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle a week on Saturday for his seven-year-old. Jefferson said the weather will dictate whether Dato Star stays over hurdles or is switched to chasing. He said: "He'll go for the Fighting Fifth then we'll see how we go with him. If it was really soft he would stay over hurdles but otherwise we will have to see."

Dato Star is 25-1 for the Champion Hurdle with Ladbrokes, who offer 33- 1 about the November Handicap winner, Yavana's Pace, who could now switch to jumping. Grey Shot, who won at Wincanton on Saturday and may appear at Cheltenham this Saturday, is 20-1 from 40-1 with Ladbrokes for the Champion Hurdle.

The trainer Paul Nicholls, who sent out a 1,288 seven-timer on Saturday, is hopeful that his Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup candidate, Earthmover, recovering from the fall he suffered at Newton Abbot last Wednesday, is on the mend. He said: "Earthmover is a lot better than he was the day after the race. It is a race against time to get to the Hennessy, but there are plenty of other good handicaps to go for."

The top hunter-chaser Double Thriller has joined Nicholls,. The eight- year-old was the only horse to beat Teeton Mill, 6-1 for the Hennessy with Ladbrokes after impressing at Wincanton on Saturday, in hunter chases last season. Nicholls has also taken charge of the Flat stayer Norski Lad, previously trained by Sir Mark Prescott and second to Silver Wedge at Newbury recently.

The Grand National winner Earth Summit could return to Aintree a week next Saturday in the Becher Chase.

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