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GAME ON: RACING: Marcel's still in Supreme form.

PROLIFIC winner Marcel is the big name on show tomorrow when the Martin Pipe-trained gelding turns out at Exeter as he builds up to the Cheltenham Festival.

The ex-French five-year-old has already won nine times for the champion trainer and as he was bought to be a chaser, that is some bonus for his owner David Johnson.

There was talk of Marcel being aimed at the Arkle Trophy at one stage, but he keeps on winning over the smaller obstacles and is now as low as 11-2 favourite for the Letheby & Christopher Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

Last time out Marcel stepped up to Grade One company and beat It's Just Harry two lengths in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown Park, so he should have nothing to fear in Sunday's totesport Novices' Hurdle.

Limerick Boy has had a chequered start to his chasing career but is potentially in the top bracket and can resume winning form in the South-West Racing Club Novices' Chase.

The Venetia Williams-trained seven-year-old got on the scoresheet at the third time of asking when beating Dempsey by a length and a three- quarters at Leicester last month.

It was back to square one at Towcester last time out, however, when he fell when leading in a race for which he had been sent off favourite.

Nicky Richards has a potentially high-class jumper in his yard in the shape of Faasel, who is another heading along the road to Cheltenham and takes in a race at Ayr.

Bought for 230,000 guineas out of the Kevin Prendergast stable, Faasel opened his account on his hurdling debut at Kelso last month, but it was a messy race and he was not impressive.

He certainly seemed to be getting the hang of things on his return to the Borders track, however, and travelled well before beating South Bronx by a hard-held half a length .

The Cumbrian trainer is keen to get more experience into Faasel before his Festival target and further progress would make him difficult to beat in the West Sound Managing Directors Novices' Hurdle.

Best bet on the afternoon's third jumps card at Hereford could be Very Special One in the EBF Mares' Only "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle.

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IN WITH A CHANCE: Marcel (above) can score at Exeter tomorrow
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Feb 12, 2005
Words:382
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