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Andy Stewart cool on Chepstow raid with Saphir Du Rheu

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Saphir Du Rheu finished an encouraging third on his return at Ascot in October.

Saphir Du Rheu
Saphir Du Rheu

Connections of Saphir Du Rheu have revealed that he will swerve an outing in next month's Coral Welsh National at Chepstow.

The Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old, who is a general 20-1 chance for the Grade Three prize on December 27, will now have just one more outing before the Cheltenham Festival, where he could still end up running in the Gold Cup.

Saphir Du Rheu finished an encouraging third on his return at Ascot in October, but only got as far as the fourth fence in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday.

Owner Andy Stewart said: "We didn't want to fall, but these things happen. He has got a bit of a sore head and a little bit of a nosebleed.

"He will be back, but he will be off for a couple of weeks. There is no way Saphir Du Rheu will go for the Welsh National.

"We will still campaign him for Cheltenham and he will keep an entry in the Gold Cup, but we'll look at all options when he is back.

"We will give him one more run before Cheltenham."

One horse who is on course for the Welsh National is Carole's Destrier.

Trainer Neil Mulholland was understandably delighted with the performance that saw his eight-year-old go down by only half a length to Native River in the Hennessy.

"He ran a cracker," Mulholland told At The Races.

"It was disappointing he didn't win, but obviously it was fantastic he ran well in a race like that.

"Hopefully there will be plenty more good runs in him this season.

"Aintree has been the long-term plan for me with him this season, but maybe not with his owner. He ticks all the right boxes for the Grand National - he jumps, he stays and he's very honest.

"I think the Welsh National will be his next run."

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