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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Morris pair geared up for LexusHeadlines
First Lieutenant

Mouse Morris is confident First Lieutenant and China Rock will be involved in the finish of the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown today.

First Lieutenant ran a cracker for third in the Hennessy at Newbury, but China Rock hasn't been seen since scoring at the highest level at the Punchestown Festival.

"I couldn't be happier with both of them and I expecting big shows from both. First Lieutenant has had a good start to the season. The ground isn't going to be ideal for him but it's the same for all of them and hopefully he'll be all right," said the trainer.

"China Rock is terribly well and even though it's his first run in a while, he's straight enough. He doesn't take much getting ready. He's a big price, but he doesn't know what price he is and I'm hopeful he's going to run very well. I wouldn't like to split the two of them."

Colm Murphy's Quito De La Roque needs to bounce back to form, with his trainer saying: "He came out of the Aintree race very well, he was as fresh as a daisy afterwards and the Lexus is the obvious race to go for. He won't mind the ground and he has run well round Leopardstown before. He's very well and we just hope he runs a nice race."

Paul Nicholls sends Tidal Bay and is keen to find out how the British form measures up against the best Ireland has to offer in the staying chase division.

He said: "It's going to be interesting taking on the two very good Irish horses but Ruby felt the track and the ground at Leopardstown would suit the horse so we're looking forward to it. His performance off top weight in the Hennessy suggests he's still improving and he deserves to take his chance."

Neil Mulholland acknowledges Midnight Chase faces a difficult task, but could not be happier with his condition. He said: "He's in very good form. He feels well and fresh in himself, so fingers crossed.

"He has come on since his run in the Charlie Hall. He needed that run a bit more than I thought. Hopefully they don't get too much more rain at Leopardstown. It's obviously a very good race, but where else do you go? He has to run in the good races and the ground here is better than it is in England at the moment."

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