Racing: Royal Mountbrowne heads Irish Tripleprint challenge

Ireland looks set to field a strong hand in Saturday's pounds 60,000- added Tripleprint Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham. Royal Mountbrowne picked up a 6lb penalty after his fortunate victory in the MMI Stockbrokers Chase at Punchestown on Saturday, in which the Gold Cup winner Imperial Call fell when clear at the last fence. The Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Klairon Davis also came to grief.

His trainer Aidan O'Brien said yesterday; "We have both Urubande and Theatreworld entered in the Bula Hurdle at Cheltenham next Saturday, so we may let Royal Mountbrowne have a crack at the Tripleprint as he will probably be going there in March anyway."

Urubande finished second to Zabadi in the Gerry Feilden Hurdle at Newbury last month and O'Brien added: "At the moment I won't know if he runs until Tuesday. If he pleases me, then I'll send him, otherwise I'll run Theatreworld. As for Royal Mountbrowne, he's tough and very fit but will also tell me in the week if he's ready to run again."

Michael O'Brien's Anabatic, fourth to Challenger du Luc in the Murphy's Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham last month, schooled over six fences after racing at Punchestown. He will run if there is rain, while Mouse Morris's Belvederian is another possible.

Rough Quest, the Grand National winner, may reappear in the Wragge and Co Challenge Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Friday. His trainer Terry Casey said yesterday: "Rough Quest will run on Friday, but it will have to be good ground and not good to firm. He will also be entered at Doncaster and in the Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock on Saturday. There will probably be some cut in the ground at Haydock."

Moonax, the winner of the 1994 St Leger and a already touted as a contender for next March's Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, makes his hurdling debut in the Friends Of ISRT Novices' Hurdle at Huntingdon tomorrow. His trainer Barry Hills said yesterday. "Moonax cantered this morning, that is all he needed, and all being well he will run on Tuesday and Richard Dunwoody rides. Cheltenham is the target."

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