Mister Top Notch: will have to please connections this week to run SundayPICTURE:Caroline Norris
Pierse Chase winner may not return to retain prize
LAST year's Pierse Chase winner Mister Top Notch will once again be among the entries for the €90,000 handicap but is not certain to bid for back-to-back wins, according to his trainer Davy Fitzgerald.
The former novice Grade 1-winning chaser impressively took the race, which has now been reduced from 3m to 2m 5f, under top weight in 2008 and went on to finish fourth at the course in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup.
After a trip to Aintree and a tilt at the Guinness Gold Cup at Punchestown, the ten-year-old was put out to grass for the summer and came back in fantastic form, placing in the Kerry and Munster Nationals, but has been sidelined since and may not be ready in time.
Fitzgerald said on Sunday: "Mister Top Notch was held up for a while after he ran second to Dear Villez in the Munster National in October. He was a bit sore with muscle problems and had to miss a good bit of work.
"He's fine again and ready to start back but we'll wait and see how he works during the week before deciding if he will run on Sunday.
"We might wait and run him in the Normans Grove Chase at Fairyhouse on January 18 instead before going for the Hennessy at Leopardstown again next month."