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Racing: HALF LOOKS THE FULL MEASURE.

Byline: PETER O'HEHIR

CHRISTY Roche's WHICH HALF appeals as today's bumper banker at Leopardstown.

This son of GRAND PLAISIR made a hugely promising racecourse debut in a competitive novice hurdle at Fairyhouse four weeks ago.

On that occasion, ridden by a 7lb. claimer, he stayed on really well in the closing stages to finish a good third to TURTLEBACK (rated 126) and STAR CLIPPER, which was a costly odds-on flop at Thurles on Sunday.

Which Half had the likes of smart hurdlers COLUMBA, ATLANTIC RHAPSODY and PRIVATE BETN behind on that occasion and should take some beating in this four-year-old contest.

Earlier Roche and First Half's owner J P McManus will be expected to initiate a double with favourite LE COUDRAY in the EUR100,000 Denny Gold Medal Novice Chase.

A faller on his chasing debut at Cork (his first run in almost two years), Le Coudray went on to register his first chase win at Naas before landing the Grade 1 Pierse Group Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse.

Although ideally suited by a longer trip, LE COUDRAY is a class-act and should prove too powerful in the closing stages for BUST OUT and THE GATHERER.

GOLDEN CROSS, a smooth winner from MIRPOUR and DASHING HOME on his hurdle debut at Fairyhouse, must carry a penalty but sets the standard in the Denny Juvenile Hurdle.

Ridden at Fairyhouse by Charlie Swan, Michael Halford's three-year-old should have the measure of HARCHIBALD and PARTY AIRS and should provide Norman Williamson with the second leg of a St. Stephen's Day double.

Williamson will be on board KICKHAM for Edward O'Grady in the opener and this fellow should no be opposed.

Reigning champion Paul Carberry also has double prospects, on Tony Martin's pair RARE OUZEL (in the Charleville Cheese Handicap Hurdle) and WILTON BRIDGE, which has RHEINDROSS to beat in the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Handicap Chase.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 26, 2002
Words:312
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