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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Divers taking plunge in PlateHeadlines
Divers

Ferdy Murphy is keeping his fingers crossed for a dry spell of weather as he prepares Divers for a return to the scene of his greatest triumph.

The nine-year-old won the Centenary Novices' Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2011 and returned to the track to finish a creditable fourth in the Byrne Group Plate last term. That two-mile-five-furlong heat is his target once again this term.

Divers' preparation has been far from ideal, with heavy ground limiting him to just three starts all winter, but Murphy was satisfied with his recent third at Musselburgh on good ground and believes he could be on handy mark of 135, some 7lb lower than last year.

The Yorkshire handler said: "The Byrne Group Plate is the target for him and hopefully we'll get a bit of decent ground. It's been a terrible winter and the owners were happy to wait for decent ground and prepare him for the Festival.

"We gave him a run at Musselburgh, which helped, and he seems to be in good form. He has dropped down the weights a little, but he's on a nice mark now - an attractive mark, I would say - and he should get in the race off that."

De Boitron is also entered in the Grade Three heat, but a largely indifferent campaign has seen him drop to a rating of 130 and Murphy may instead direct him to the three-mile JLT Specialty Chase.

"De Boitron might not get in the Byrne Group Plate but he's entered in the JLT race, too. We will look at the options nearer the time, but it may be the JLT for him," he said.

"Riguez Dancer is entered in the JLT, but I think the Kim Muir is the race for him. He's dropped down the weights a bit, but he wants better ground. Nico de Boinville rode him last time and got on well with him, but I'd think he will be required elsewhere, so we'll probably bring an Irish amateur over for the ride.

"Poker De Sivola is very well and fresh (ahead of the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase). He finished sixth in the race a couple of years ago, but we were using that as a prep for something else to sweeten him up.

"We had been looking to the Grand National with him but he won't get in this year, so this is the target. The plan is the cross-country race and then we'll put him away for the year and work towards the Becher in November and then, hopefully, the National. He's a classy horse."

20 February 2017

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Ball D'Arc bounds to Flyingbolt success at Navan
Colin Tizzard set for nervous Cheltenham build-up
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Nicky Henderson still undecided over Whisper's Cheltenham target

19 February 2017

Acapella hits all the right notes in Ten Up
Place gets home to complete five-timer in Boyne Hurdle
Setback rules Identity Thief out of Navan outing
Josses Hill heading straight to the Festival
'Job done' as Yanworth battles to Kingwell Hurdle victory
Lion roars to National favouritism with Haydock success
'Everything you want to see and more' - Cue Card thrills in Ascot Chase romp
Worlds End enters Cheltenham equation after Haydock triumph
Tombstone floors Jezki in Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park
Zarkandar back in front as Nicholls dominates Rendlesham
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Beyond Conceit secures Cheltenham spot with Ascot success

18 February 2017

Cue Card back to his brilliant best in Ascot Chase
Vieux Lion Rouge boosts Grand National claims at Haydock
Yanworth battles to hard-fought victory in Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton
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Don Bersy bags biggest success yet at Haydock but Cheltenham off the agenda
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William Cox suffers broken jaw and Eoin Walsh breaks arm in Wolverhampton spill
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Fairytale success for Captain Guy Disney in Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown
Colin's Sister on track for Cheltenham after sizzling Sandown display
Bigbadjohn on Reynoldstown recovery mission at Ascot
Aux Ptits Soins in hurdling switch for Rendlesham test
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Cue Card primed for Ascot Chase bid
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17 February 2017

Two riders taken to hospital following Wolverhampton spill
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Sir Tony McCoy statue to be unveiled on opening day of Cheltenham Festival
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Emma Lavelle eyeing Doncaster prep for Grand National-bound Junction Fourteen
Jockey Club dismisses any suggestion of changes to Kempton proposals
Dubai World Cup night engagement beckons for Opal Tiara
Big-race options open as Saphir Du Rheu returns to winning ways at Kelso
Apple's Jade on course for Quevega Hurdle at Punchestown
Sandown and France on the radar for Ptit Zig
National favourite Don Poli 'doubtful' for Aintree following weights dispute
Dan Skelton happy to take Champion challenge with 'improving' Superb Story
Colin's Sister primed for long-range target at Sandown
Blaklion out to roar for Nigel Twiston-Davies in National Trial
Cue Card faces five in Ascot Chase

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