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Lalor out to make it third time lucky over hurdles at The International



Lalor is likely to be one of a number of high-profile horses on show at Cheltenham on the first day of The International, Friday, December 15.

The five-year-old features among 22 entries for the opening British Stallion Studs EBF National Hunt Novices' Hurdle (12.10pm) over two miles and a furlong.

Recent winners of the race include future G1 scorers Darlan (2011), Melodic Rendezvous (2012) and Pingshou (2016).

Lalor (Richard Woollacott) marked himself down as one of last season's leading bumper performers with a dominant victory in the G2 Weatherbys Private Bank Standard Open Bumper at Aintree's Randox Health Grand National Festival in April, but has met with defeat on both his hurdle outings so far this season.

He just failed to reel in Onefortheroadtom when going down by a short-head at Exeter on October 24, and forfeited his chance with a bad mistake at the last at Ascot on November 24, when finishing third behind Mr One More.

Trainer Richard Woollacott, who is based in Devon, said today: "Lalor is very well. We will wait and see how the ground is, but I think we will probably run at Cheltenham.

"He is a big, weak horse, who is still learning. He was bit unlucky the first time at Exeter and last time he probably came up against a couple of nice horses in Mr One More and Dr Des.

"The experience will have done him good and hopefully he can progress again."

Lalor's rivals on Friday could include Summerville Boy (Tom George), who was second to Slate House in the G2 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle at The November Meeting, and fellow high-class bumper performer Western Ryder (Warren Greatrex).

Champion trainer Nicky Henderson has won this race three times since 2009. His five entries include Irish point-to-point graduate Mr Whipped, an easy winner at Kempton Park on his UK debut, and exciting French import Diese Des Bieffes, who is two from two since joining the stable.

Other eye-catching entries include prolific mare Spice Girl (Martin Keighley) and the unbeaten Shoal Bay (Colin Tizzard).

Ladbrokes Trophy fourth Braqueur D'Or (Paul Nicholls) headlines nine entries for the £25,000 Horse Comes First Novices' Chase (12.45pm) over an extended three miles and a furlong. Wide-margin Exeter scorer Duel At Dawn (Alex Hales) and Sizing Tennessee (Colin Tizzard) are also engaged.

The highlight of Cheltenham's seven-race card is the £45,000 Unicoin Group Handicap Chase (2.30pm). Entries for the three and a quarter mile contest include What A Moment (David Pipe), who was victorious in the Markel Insurance Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase at The November Meeting, dual Scottish Grand National hero Vicente (Paul Nicholls) and the smart novice Wotzizname (Harry Fry).

The International continues on Saturday, December 16, when the highlights are the £130,000 G2 Unibet International Hurdle (3.05pm, seven entries), in which The New One (Nigel Twiston-Davies) is going for a record-breaking fourth win, and the £120,000 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup (1.55pm, 17 confirmations), a prestigious handicap chase over two miles and five furlongs.

All snow has gone from the course today.
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