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Irving and First Mohican set for Dovecote clash at Kempton

Irving and First Mohican could put their Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle hopes on the line at Kempton on Saturday after featuring among 11 entries for the Dovecote Novices' Hurdle.

The former missed an intended engagement in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury recently due to heavy ground but is currently second favourite behind Vautour for Cheltenham Festival glory following a hat-trick of impressive wins since joining Paul Nicholls.

A scorer in Germany and France on the Flat, the six-year-old has shown a fine turn of foot to prevail at Taunton and then Ascot twice over timber, with subsequent Betfair Hurdle hero Splash Of Ginge back in third on the last of those outings.

"We've just minded him a little as we were going to run him in the Tolworth and then the Betfair, but with the ground as it is we decided not to as we want to go to Cheltenham with him and then possibly Aintree," commented Nicholls.

"But I'm thrilled with the way he looks, physically he's doing well and he's just starting to come in his coat, which is what you want to see at this time of year. I'd love to run him in the Dovecote and get more experience into him. He's got loads of speed, jumps nicely and hopefully we haven't seen the best of him yet."

First Mohican also made his mark on the level, obliging four times for Sir Henry Cecil, and made an eye-catching debut in the National Hunt arena when coming out on top at Doncaster earlier this month for Alan King.

Robert Thornton came with a smooth run to hit the front approaching the second last that day and his six-year-old mount responded gamely when put under a bit of pressure by Huff And Puff in the closing stages.

"He had a good blow afterwards, so I would like to think that he can improve both physically and mentally," said King on his personal website. "He still needs more experience, so he will go to Kempton for the Dovecote Novices' Hurdle and then, hopefully, it will be the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham."

The Barbury Castle handler will be seeking a fourth victory in the Grade 2 event at Kempton, following wins for Senorita Rumbalita, Trenchant and Grumeti two years ago.


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Irving and First Mohican set for Dovecote clash at Kempton

Irving and First Mohican could put their Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle hopes on the line at Kempton on Saturday after featuring among 11 entries for the Dovecote Novices' Hurdle.

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