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Barry Geraghty and Spirit Son win The Mersey novices hurdle at the Grand National meeting Aintree 9.04.2011

Spirit Son (left): a general 8-1 chance for the Stan James Champion Hurdle

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Spirit Son could return in Irish Champion Hurdle

SPIRIT SON could make his eagerly anticipated return in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on January 29.

Spirit Son finished second in the Stan James Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham before he blitzed his rivals by 13 lengths in the Grade 2 John Smith's Mersey Novices' Hurdle over 2m4f at Aintree in April.


A general 8-1 chance for the Stan James Champion Hurdle next March, Spirit Son has not run this season and Nicky Henderson said on Friday that he or stablemate Binocular could run in the Grade 1 contest, which could also see the return of Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly, who pleased trainer Willie Mullins in a racecourse gallop at Leopardstown on Thursday.

Henderson said: "We won't rule them in or out. I'll speak to JP [McManus] about Binocular and he has been very well since Kempton.

"Spirit Son is also very well, but it really depends on what happens over here.

"The ground will be a factor as well, but we may well run one of them. We'll make up our minds a bit closer to the time."

Colm Murphy

Colm Murphy: will only run Voler La Vedette if the ground is soft

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann ( 

Voler La Vedette, unbeaten in three starts in Graded company this season, could also line up for trainer Colm Murphy.

He said: "She has come out of her run at Christmas in great shape and I wouldn't be afraid to drop her back in trip, but I'd say she will only run if the ground is soft.

"She has won her Grade 1 this season which was great and she is settling much better in her races this year."

Unaccompanied, who landed her second Grade 1 at Leopardstown last month when she beat Thousand Stars in the Istabraq Festival Hurdle, is an intended starter.

Her trainer Dermot Weld said: "She has come out of her last run very well, but the Irish Champion Hurdle will be a learning curve for her.

"Hurricane Fly will be very hard to beat, but she has won two Grade 1s and I was delighted with the way she won last month.

He added: "She is only five and is still improving. She has strengthened up well this season, so we'll let her take her chance and then we'll see where we'll go with her for the rest of the season."

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