Mikael Headlines At Limerick

Sun 23rd Dec 2012, 16:54

Mikael D'Haguenet wininng at Punchestown
©Healy Racing Photos
After finally securing his first win over fences Mikael D'Haguenet steps back up in class for the Greenmount Park Novice Chase at Limerick on St Stephen's Day.

After winning major novice hurdle prizes at the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals in the spring of 2009, the eight-year-old looked set to take high rank over fences.

He missed the following campaign with injury and when he did return in the 2010 Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse, he fell at the last with the race at his mercy and little has gone right since.

However, there was much to like about his winning performance at Punchestown earlier this month and trainer Willie Mullins hopes that victory will have given him the confidence to get his career back on track ahead of his latest Grade Two assignment.

"He goes there with plenty of experience and we were delighted to see him get off the mark over fences the last day," said the champion trainer.

"He hasn't been the luckiest horse in the world but hopefully now he can put things together and get going again.

"The ground at Limerick should be all right for him so we'll see what happens."

The next best horse at the ratings is the Tom Taaffe-trained Argocat, who receives a hefty age allowance from each of his rivals being a four-year-old.

He won at Limerick on his chasing debut and was a creditable second in Grade Three company at Galway last time.

The colours of leading owners Gigginstown House Stud are carried by both Far Away So Close, who wears a hood for the first time, and Tillahow.

A five-runner field is completed by Snooze.

GRAND NATIONAL - The Northern Challenge

The Sue Smith-trained Auroras Encore was the last northern-trained horse to win the Grand National back in 2013 but recent victories for that part of the country have been thin on the ground since the likes of Lucius, Rubstic and Hallo Dandy in the late 70s early 80’s showed that steeplechasing was in a healthy state north of the Watford Gap with the likes of Gordon W Richards, Denys Smith, Arthur Stephenson, Peter Easterby and Jimmy Fitzgerald capable of holding their own against their southern and Irish counterparts.