Arctic Fire camp optimistic of big run

Sun 8th Nov 2015, 09:43

photoArctic Fire
©Healy Racing Photos
Owner Nick Peacock is hopeful Arctic Fire can gain a deserved victory in the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan today.

Although winless last season, the Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old enhanced his reputation with some magnificent efforts in defeat behind illustrious stable companions.

Placed behind Hurricane Fly in the Ryanair Hurdle and the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown, Arctic Fire turned the tables on the now-retired superstar in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, only to find another stablemate too strong in Faugheen.

After falling at the final flight when he looked likely to prevail at Aintree, he signed off with another runner-up finish behind Faugheen at Punchestown and faces a far less demanding assignment on his return to action.

Peacock said: "We're very much looking forward to seeing him in action again.

"How fit he is, I couldn't tell you, but in theory he wouldn't need to be at his very best to beat these horses.

"We're hopeful, so we'll see. It would be great to see him get his head in front again."< Arctic Fire faces just four rivals in the two-and-a-half-mile Grade Two.

Owner JP McManus is double-handed, with Aidan O'Brien's Istabraq Hurdle winner Plinth joined by John Kiely's high-class chaser Carlingford Lough.

The latter, last seen finishing ninth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, will be running over hurdles for the first time since winning at Galway in August 2012.

The owner's racing manager Frank Berry said: "John is happy with him and we are looking forward to getting him started at the weekend.

"After Sunday we'll look at the Durkan at Punchestown."

Monksland has suffered his fair share of problems, but trainer Noel Meade is pleased with his condition ahead of his first start since he failed to fire in last season's World Hurdle.

Meade said: "He has stayed very sound so far, touch-wood. We have been swimming him three days and working him three.

"He's very fit at the moment and would be fitter than he was at any stage last season.

"The problem all along was when we done a bit with him something went wrong.

"He's in good shape."

The Gordon Elliott-trained Taglietelle completes the line-up.

Kitten Rock makes chasing debut today

The Grade 2s Fortria Chase and Lismullen Hurdle take centre stage at Navan today but the supporting card does also feature the potentially informative Grade 3 At The Races ´For Auction´ Novice Hurdle and the chasing debut of high class hurdler Kitten Rock.