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Sir Des Champs - Punchestown 24.04.2012

Sir Des Champs won his first Grade 1 at Punchestown despite a bad error

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

Sir Des Champs could start in John Durkan

WILLIE MULLINS is considering starting off Gold Cup favourite Sir Des Champs in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown on December 9.

Unbeaten in seven starts since joining Mullins and a winner at the last two festivals, as well as landing his first Grade 1 at the Punchestown festival, the six-year-old is a best-priced 6-1 for Gold Cup glory.

"He's done nothing wrong, he's won round Cheltenham for the past two years and he's getting stronger," said Mullins, as reported on "We're hoping he's our big hope for the year. We've got no firm plan, but the John Durkan might be a nice race to start him off in."

Hinterland Cheltenham 12/11/2011

Hinterland: impressed Ruby Walsh and Paul Nicholls in a schooling session

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

HINTERLAND may have run out an impressive seven-length winner over hurdles on his seasonal debut at Chepstow, but Paul Nicholls has revealed he will be sent chasing for the remainder of the season after impressing Ruby Walsh in a schooling session.

"The horse schooled really well this morning, quick and accurate, and Ruby was suitably impressed," Nicholls said in his Betfair blog. "So, subject to confirmation with [owners] Jared [Sullivan] and Chris [Giles] the plan is to go chasing now.

"I have earmarked two possible targets for him next month, at Exeter or Cheltenham, with a view to running him in the Henry VIII, a race we won with Al Ferof last year, at Sandown on Tingle Creek day."

Dunguib - Cheltenham - 11.03.09

Dunguib easily beat Rite Of Passage in the Cheltenham Bumper in 2009

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham  

THE 2009 Champion Bumper winner Dunguib, who in the process beat subsequent British Champions Day winner Rite Of Passage by ten and three-quarter lengths, will miss the season with a leg injury.

Off the track since finishing eighth behind Hurricane Fly in the 2011 Champion Hurdle, trainer Philip Fenton said: "Unfortunately Dunguib won't be running this season either. He'll need another season off.

"He's got a problem with one of his legs, it's a different leg to what he missed the last season with," Fenton told

"It's very disappointing and they say it always happens to the good ones. We'll just have to start looking for the new Dunguib, but they don't come around like him very often."

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