Hanlon Hoping Leader Can Test Mikael

Wed 16th Jan 2013, 18:54

Western Leader
©Healy Racing Photos
Trainer Shark Hanlon is hoping Western Leader can put it up to Mikael D'Haguenet in an interesting WT O'Grady Memorial EBF Novice Chase at Thurles on Thursday.

Mikael D'Haguenet was a comprehensive winner when the pair met over hurdles at Punchestown on New Year's Eve in 2011, but has had his jumping issues since tackling fences.

Western Leader was initially retired after breaking down at Aintree in the spring of 2010, but has been nursed back to health by his trainer and made a winning debut over fences at Fairyhouse last time.

Hanlon said: "The last time we met Mikael D'Haguenet it was our lad's first run in almost two years and hopefully we're in better shape now.

"We were delighted with him the last day in Fairyhouse and I think he has come on since then and his jumping seems good.

"We know Mikael D'Haguenet is a class horse, but our horse is a class horse on his day and we'll have a go at him.

"It's a good little race."

A four-runner field is completed by He'llberemembered and Tabhachtach.

Thistlecrack Return Marks Start Of Jumping Season

Fans of jumps racing have been rejoicing over the past month with the return of some of the stars of the sport to the track and although the action will ramp up another notch in November, there has still been plenty to take in during the first few weeks of the ‘proper’ National Hunt season in the UK.