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Angel must show wings to prove sceptics wrong

Already disparaged as inferior to a crop that has barely begun its own journey to the same race, last season's novice chasers today vest their wounded pride in one who was himself damned with faint praise even when winning the RSA Chase. The success of Bostons Angel at Cheltenham last March was immediately dismissed as gutsy opportunism, the eventual protagonists having staggered up the hill as though abashed by their inferiority to rivals who had variously run below form, or failed to get round.

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Mullins deflated by Mikael's lacklustre display

This evening's champagne sparkle down Co Carlow way may just be tempered slightly by the more disappointing sound of a bubble bursting. Hurricane Fly gave Bagenalstown-based Willie Mullins, Ireland's champion trainer, plenty to celebrate at Leopardstown as he galloped to Champion Hurdle favouritism. But the performance yesterday at the Co Dublin track by one of the yard's putative stars, Mikael d'Haguenet, was as flat as tomorrow's dregs.

Pandorama hits top gear on road to the Gold Cup

Those of us who were depicting Pandorama as some sort of inexorable new force on the steeplechasing scene, before his first visit to Britain last month, were soon made to look rather silly.

The Listener hopes to hear Lexus all-clear

So that's why they call it the Turf. The thaw may have arrived just too late for the big holiday fixture at Kempton, but yesterday it disclosed a mysterious green surface at several other venues. Ffos Las is all set to restore jump racing to Britain this afternoon, and there is a decent chance that Leopardstown's Christmas meeting, a critical crossroads in the Irish season, will finally get off the ground as well.