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Racing: Stroll's so Grand; MOORE'S 20-1 HERO TARGETS NATIONAL.

Byline: MICHAEL CLOWER

MORE Than A Stroll sprang a 20-1 shock in the James Nicholson Wine Merchant Champion Chase in the mud at Down Royal yesterday.

Arthur Moore's Munster National winner was taken wide by Conor O'Dwyer in search of better ground and he was travelling by far the best even before he went on after the second last.

He came home five lengths clear of the 1999 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner See More Business with Give Over nine lengths back in third, 15 lengths in front of Florida Pearl, who disappointed in this race for the third successive year.

"The plan was to drop him right out and whatever came would come - and that proved to be a lot more than we expected," O'Dwyer admitted.

Moore now intends to aim the ten-year-old at the Grand National and he may run next in the Durkan Chase at Punchestown next month when Florida Pearl will again be in opposition.

"This was a very pleasant surprise. He was in terrific form but we couldn't have expected to win a race like this," said Moore.

"He is settling much better than he used to and we now have nowhere to go except the top races. The Grand National is very much on the agenda."

Barry Geraghty is convinced that the testing ground was all against Florida Pearl but Willie Mullins is not so sure.

"I felt he started racing too early. He jumped on after the ninth and he and the other leaders cut each other's throats," said Mullins. "The plan is still the King George after the Durkan."

Moscow Flyer had no trouble disposing of his two opponents in the Killultagh Properties Chase and he now goes to Sandown.

CAPTION(S):

JUMP TO IT: More Than a Stroll shoots clear at Down Royal yesterday
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Nov 10, 2002
Words:302
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