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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Naas to hold inspectionHeadlines
Mikael D'Haguenet

Officials at Naas are to hold a 7.30am inspection ahead of the meeting on Sunday due to an adverse overnight weather forecast. The course is currently raceable, with the ground described as heavy.

If the meeting gets the go-ahead, Mikael D'Haguenet will bid to secure his third victory over fences in the BBA Ireland Limited Opera Hat Novice Chase.

The dual Grade One-winning hurdler has suffered various training and jumping problems over the past couple of seasons, but there is little doubt he is a top-notch performer when he puts it all together.

This season pretty much sums up his chasing career to date as from four starts he has won impressively twice, fallen once and was brought to a standstill on his other appearance when a final-fence blunder cost him certain victory.

Willie Mullins' charge comes back to two miles for the first time over fences this weekend and will undoubtedly have his supporters, despite having to concede weight to each of his rivals.

Henry de Bromhead's Buckers Bridge could be Mikael D'Haguenet's biggest threat if he can bounce back from a disappointing run in the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse in December.

De Bromhead saddles his first ever runner for JP McManus as point-to-point graduate Alexander Leaving makes his debut under Rules in the Tote Jackpot Maiden Hurdle.

McManus is represented in the same race by the Mullins-trained Upsie, a mare who won two bumpers in France.

Perhaps the most interesting race of the entire day is the concluding bumper, a race in which seven of the 10 runners are previous winners.

Mullins saddles leading Champion Bumper contender Clondaw Court, who is likely to be a hot favourite, while Charlie Swan is represented by runaway Navan scorer Agent James, who is once again ridden by his owner John Reddington.

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