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Hors La Loi in great shape; `I'll be disappointed if he doesn't win', says rider.

IF jockey confidence counts for anything, Champion Hurdle runner-up Hors La Loi is already home and hosed in the Martell Aintree Hurdle, writes Matt Chapman.

Hors La Loi faces 10 rivals in this afternoon's

televised Grade 1 event but, with Monsignor and Dato Star both absent due to the prevailing fast

conditions, his rider, Dean Gallagher, is bullish.

Gallagher, who rode Hors La Loi into second

behind Istabraq at Cheltenham, said yesterday: "No horse is a certainty, but I'm as confident as I've ever been about any horse I've ridden that Hors La Loi will win. He's a great horse."

The Franois Doumen-trained five-year-old, who scored at both the Cheltenham and the Aintree

Festival last season when with Martin Pipe, has

reportedly thrived since the Champion Hurdle.

Gallagher added: "Hors La Loi has been based at Haydock and I popped him over four hurdles on Thursday. He jumped brilliantly and felt extremely well. He still looked wintry at Cheltenham, but he's come in his summer coat now.

"He's quick enough for two miles, but I think the two and a half at Aintree will be ideal. He's a beautifully actioned horse who wants good ground. I'll be very disappointed if he doesn't win."

Opposition today includes Ladbroke Hurdle winner Mantles Prince, last season's Triumph Hurdle victor Katarino-who was seventh in the Champion-Tote Gold Trophy winner Geos, and His Song, who has been chasing recently.

Also in the line-up is another French raider in Le Sauvignon, whom the Doumens are in a good

position to compare with Hors La Loi.

Thierry Doumen, Franois's son, said yesterday: "They have never run against each other but I

expect Hors La Loi to beat Le Sauvignon, though Le Sauvignon is a very good horse and a danger."

Nicky Henderson saddles both Katarino and Geos, the mount of stable jockey Mick Fitzgerald.

"My big worry for both of them is the ground-I don't know whether they will act on fast ground," Henderson said yesterday. "I almost pulled Katarino out this morning, but he's going to take his chance and it has been pointed out to me that he's run well on good ground before. He's in good form.

"I've never had Geos better but, while I know he's a good horse on soft ground, I have no idea how he'll go on the surface at Aintree."

Knife Edge had His Song back in third when scoring on the Flat at The Curragh 13 days ago. The

latter is trained by Mouse Morris, who said: "He was a hell of a good novice two seasons ago, but he's

disappointed over fences and lost interest. He downed tools completely in the Cathcart after making a mistake, but he ran well on the Flat."

nLe Sauvignon is to be trained by Micky Hammond next season, when he is set to go chasing. The six-year-old, owned by Yorkshire-based businessman David Jackson, will join Hammond's Middleham string after contesting the Grande Course de Haies d'Auteuil (French Champion Hurdle) in June.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Chapman, Matt
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Apr 8, 2000
Previous Article:Monsignor and Dato Star stay at home.
Next Article:Ten To Follow: National may decide outcome.

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