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Kymandjen build-up far from ideal says Nolan; Gowran Park briefing.

Byline: TONY O'HEHIR

A YEAR after losing out by a short head to Number six valver de in the same race, Kymandjen carries a fitness warning as he heads back on the Thyestes Chase trail at Gowran Park today as part of a three-strong Paul Nolan challenge for the prestigious handicap, live on RTE and At The Races.

Yesterday, Nolan issued a report that Kymandjen, winner of his most recent start at Tramore on New Year's Day and since bought by Martin Doran of race sponsors Ellen Construction, might not be quite at his best for the three-mile test.

Nolan, whose gelding is a 25-1 chance for the Grand National with Stan James, said: "Kymandjen had a minor setback last week. He had a slight over-reach and while he seems to be fine now I'd have to say that he hasn't had the ideal preparation."

Betting on the Thyestes, one of three races being shown live on RTE, could be further confused this morning if Dun Doire, winner of his last four races and first reserve today, gets into the race.

His trainer Tony Martin will be hoping for an early morning call from some corner of Ireland that will allow him to run the seven-year-old.

Dun Doire will require one of the 18 declared runners to come out of the race if he is to get a run, and Martin said yesterday: "I'm not wishing anyone bad luck, but it would be good news if I get a call from somewhere in the morning telling me there will be a non-runner.

"Dun Doire is in good form and I'm happy with him. He's still a young horse, but he has done things well recently and deserves to take his chance.

"He's gone up a lot in the ratings, although he'll be on his right mark with bottom weight, if he gets a run. Fingers crossed, he'll get into the race and run well."

Nolan, for whom John Cullen, bidding for his second win in the race, partners Kymandjen, also runs the giant Colnel Ray-burn, the mount of Davy Russell, and Coljon, as he bids for a first success in the big handicap which first run in 1954.

Nolan said: "Colnel Rayburn is in great form. I was delighted with his run over hurdles at Fairyhouse a few weeks ago when he finished second. He looks good and he's won over the trip, so we're expecting a good run from him.

"Coljon is on a nice weight [10st 4lb] and Robbie [Moran] claims 3lb. When he won at Wexford he probably stole the race, but he ran better than I was expecting when he finished second at Limerick last time and was staying on well at the end of two and a half miles. If he puts in a good round of jumping he's capable of a good run, as the ground and the trip will suit."

Barrow Drive heads the weights on 11st 5lb, and his trainer Tony Mullins said yesterday: "It's worked out well with the weights only going up 1lb. Our horse is 6lb better off with Kymandjen, who beat him at Tramore. I was delighted with our fellow that day and he has to have a decent chance."

Mullins' brother Willie, who won the race with Hedgehunter two years ago, is represented by Living stone bramble, who was beaten when he fell two out when second favourite for the race a year ago.

He has not run since May, and Mullins said: "It's a big ask on his first run back. Three miles might be a bit far for him, although I'd be hopeful of him getting it on better ground later in the season now that he's stronger."

Arthur Moore, who won the race as a jockey on Veuve 33 years ago and twice as a trainer with Wylde Hide in 1995 and 1996, is represented by Marcus du Berlais, the mount of Conor O'Dwyer, who has yet to win a Thyestes, and Jaquouille on whom David Casey will be bidding for a third win in the race following This Is Serious (2002) and Hedge-hunter.

CAPTION(S):

Dun Doire: Tony Martin's chaser is in good form but will need one runner to come out for him to run
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 26, 2006
Words:713
Previous Article:Top weight McGoldrick set to run in Victor Chandler.
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