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Diamond King looks to strike after luckless Cheltenham effort

Diamond King (blue): winning at Cheltenham last year
1 of 1

3.55 Thurles
Pierce Molony Memorial Novice Chase (Listed) | 5yo+ | 2m2f | ATR

Diamond King, who was effectively knocked out of contention when favourite for the Plate at Cheltenham last week, is on a recovery mission in this seven-runner event named in memory of the former owner and manager of Thurles racecourse who died two years ago.

Winner of the Coral Cup at the Festival in 2016, Diamond King blundered badly at the sixth fence in last week's handicap and was hampered four fences later. The latter incident ended his chances and he was subsequently pulled up.

His trainer Gordon Elliott said yesterday: "What happened at Cheltenham was one of those things. Diamond King came out of the race fine and, hopefully, tomorrow's race will restore his confidence. They're calling the ground yielding to soft and hopefully they won't get rain as the better the ground, the more he likes it."

Elliott is also represented by Stone Hard whom he described as "a disappointing horse." The seven-year-old was beaten a long way behind Acapella Bourgeois over 3m at Navan on his most recent start and Elliott is hoping dropping down in trip might bring improvement.

He said: "Stone Hard has been disappointing. He has won a chase over 2m1f and we're just hoping that going back to that sort of trip might help after he ran so sort of race at Navan last time."

Great Field, who is two from two over fences, represents Willie Mullins (see column) and will again be partnered by Jody McGarvey, who did so well to stay on board when the JP McManus-owned six-year-old stumbled badly on landing over the final fence at Leopardstown on his most recent start.

Returning from break is the Henry de Bromhead-trained Full Cry who last ran at Cheltenham in October when he finished second to stablemate Heron Heights over 3m.

What happened at Cheltenham was one of those things. Diamond King came out of the race fine and hopefully tomorrow's race will restore his confidence
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