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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Al systems go for HaydockHeadlines
Weird Al

Weird Al is on course to make his seasonal reappearance in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday.

The lightly-raced nine-year-old finished 10 lengths behind Kauto Star last season after an easy win in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. Donald McCain's charge failed to complete in his final two starts last term, in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and in the John Smith's Grand National, but is reportedly in rude health for his comeback.

McCain said: "He is in grand form and I am very happy with him. He didn't run in the Charlie Hall Chase this year because I just wanted to give him a bit more time.

"He ran well in the Betfair Chase last season and then he disappointed in the Gold Cup, but that's just the one run. He was still in with a chance when he came down in the Grand National.

"You would not be confident on Saturday when you are taking on horses of that quality but we would be hopeful he runs a big race. He likes nice ground but he will cope if the ground is soft as it was slow enough last year."

Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Long Run and Imperial Commander also appear amongst the nine entries. Nicky Henderson's Long Run, who took the Cheltenham highlight in 2011, chased home the rejuvenated Kauto Star in this valuable Grade One event 12 months ago.

It has been a long road back for Imperial Commander, the 2010 Betfair winner who was pulled up on his most recent start in Long Run's Gold Cup.

Imperial Commander's jockey Paddy Brennan is excited about the assignment, tweeting: "Had my final sit on Imperial Commander this am before the Betfair Chase on Sat. I jumped 8 fences on him & he felt great."

Paul Nicholls, who has won four of the seven runnings of the Lancashire highlight, could rely upon recent Charlie Hall winner Silviniaco Conti and Tidal Bay, who bolted up in the John Smith's Hurdle on the same day at Wetherby.

The Neil Mulholland-trained Midnight Chase and Wayward Prince, now with Hilary Parrott, are still engaged. This year's Gold Cup runner-up The Giant Bolster could make his seasonal reappearance for David Bridgwater, while Cannington Brook completes the line-up.

6 December 2016

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Joseph O'Brien biding his time with Landofhopeandglory
Colin Kidd prepares Rashaan for New Year return to action
County Hurdle runner-up Fethard Player in line for back-end campaign
Neil Mulholland still has Festival plan for Shantou Village
No problems for Uttoxeter
Nick Alexander dominates Ayr action as Marlee Massie highlights treble
Newly-crowned champion Jim Crowley gallops away with jockey award
Fergal O'Brien sets sights on Sandown compensation for Alvarado
Gracious John stars in Lingfield treble for Egan
Ruby Walsh raises Ascot possibility for Un De Sceaux
Taquin Du Seuil tops 19 contenders hunting Caviar Gold
James Moffatt hoping Highland Lodge effort will secure National date
Many Clouds Lexus bid under serious consideration from Oliver Sherwood
Smad Place lined up for Cotswold repeat by Alan King

5 December 2016

Aidan O'Brien claims Flat prize at HRI Awards
Uttoxeter forced to check due to threat of frost
Kim Bailey considers Cheltenham test for Charbel
The Last Samuri to tread a familiar path back to Aintree
Peter Maher takes double aim at Cross Country Chase
Ludlow frozen off
Oscar-winning performance delights Fergal O'Brien
Eddie Harty has long-term dreams for Coney Island after Drinmore glory
'Excellent' Josses Hill puts it all together in Peterborough Chase romp
Apple's Jade pips Vroum Vroum Mag in Hatton's Grace thriller
Prolific Airlie Beach bags Grade One glory in Royal Bond
Ar Mad in line to be supplemented for the King George at Kempton
Landofhopeandglory still unbeaten over hurdles after Fairyhouse battle
Ballyandy providing Nigel Twiston-Davies with campaign quandary
Yanworth enters International and Christmas reckoning

4 December 2016

Gordon Elliottt eyeing Leopardstown outing for Ucello Conti
Stuart Edmunds eyeing Ascot compensation for Wolf Of Windlesham
Ludlow call precautionary check
Kelso gets the go-ahead
As De Mee gives owner Dame Judi Dench a winner over the National fences
Un De Sceaux just betters Sire De Grugy in Tingle Creek epic
National hero Many Clouds back in business at Aintree
Kempton the next stop as Altior bandwagon gathers pace at Sandown
Vieux Lion Rouge denies Highland Lodge repeat success in Becher thriller
Cole Harden second on fencing debut as Its'afreebee comes out on top
Unbeaten Airlie Beach seeking Grade One gold in Royal Bond
Vroum Vroum Mag revved up for Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse
Mouse Morris gives Alpha Des Obeaux a squeak in Fairyhouse Grade One

3 December 2016

Evening Hush makes big noise at Aintree
BHA withdraws disciplinary charges against Martin Harley
Festival winner Martello Tower off the mark over fences at Fairyhouse
Triumph Hurdle favourite Landofhopeandglory faces Fairyhouse test
More Of That on recovery mission in Peterborough Chase
Precautionary inspection for Kelso Sunday fixture
Waitaki gives Pat Smullen a winning send off at Dundalk
Classy Messire Des Obeaux fires for Alan King at Sandown
The New One set to take on International Hurdle assignment
Faugheen earmarked for Christmas comeback
Oliver Sherwood 'very happy' as National winner Many Clouds returns to Aintree
Noel Fehily bowled over by Sandown-bound Altior
National king Mouse Morris on Aintree reconnaissance mission with Rogue Angel
Vroum Vroum Mag leads Hatton's Grace team for Willie Mullins
Ground poser as Un De Sceaux takes Tingle Creek test at Sandown
Henry de Bromhead has John Durkan target for Sub Lieutenant

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