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Forpadydeplasterer: races over hurdles as part of his Aintree preparationPICTURE: Caroline Norris
Forpadydeplasterer set for rare hurdles outing
FORPADYDEPLASTERER will have his first start over hurdles for almost five years when he tackles 13 rivals at Leopardstown this afternoon as part of his John Smith's Grand National preparation.
It was at the Cheltenham Festival in 2008 when the Tom Cooper-trained runner last contested a race over hurdles and the trainer has decided to mix it up slightly for the 11-year-old as he prepares him for the Aintree marathon for which he can be backed at 66-1.
Cooper said: "It's the first time he's getting the ground he likes this year. He's in great form and, while the trip is a bit sharp, the purpose of the race is to get a good run into him before Aintree.
"He won the Deloitte Novice Hurdle over the course and trip back in the day and I'd be hopeful he finishes in the first three. But all roads lead to Aintree with him." Among his opponents in the Ballsbridge Hurdle over 2m2f are Whatuthink, who ran one of his best races when leading virtually throughout in the Christmas Hurdle won by Monksland.
Blackstairmountain will likely be favourite for the race but Fosters Cross, trained by Tom Mullins, had him in trouble for a long way in their clash at Cork in January. Mullins said of the 11-year-old: "He'll run well. He's 5lb better off with the favourite and is far from finished yet."
Darley Sun, winner of the 2009 Cesarewitch, will be warm order to register a first win over hurdles following an encouraging run two weeks ago when he tackle a big field in Huntingdon's 5.00.
There is also racing at Sedgefield where Ancient Times (4.50) will be trying to complete a hat-tick following a recent success over course and distance.
Huntingdon: Good, good to soft in places
Sedgefield: Good to soft
Leopardstown: Yielding to soft