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Racing: LIKE-A-BUTTERFLY TO MAKE CHASE DEBUT.

Byline: Peter O'HEHIR

LIKE-A-BUTTERFLY will make her eagerly awaited chasing debut in a two-mile beginners chase at Naas on Saturday.

Frank Berry, racing manager to Like-A-Butterfly's owner JP McManus, confirmed yesterday that the Christy Roche-trained mare is ready for her first start in 19 months.

Like-A-Butterfly, winner of the 2002 Supreme Novices at Cheltenham and conqueror of Limestone Lad in the AIG Champion Hurdle in 2003 at Leopardstown, has not raced since providing nine-times champion Charlie Swan with the final mount of his glittering career at Aintree in April last year.

Sidelined due to injury last season, Like-A-Butterfly is embarking on a chasing career at the age of 10 and her progress will intrigue her many fans.

Conor O'Dwyer will ride Like-A-Butterfly on Saturday, ending Henrietta Knight's hopes of booking O'Dwyer for Edredon Bleu's bid for a fifth Peterborough Chase win at Huntingdon.

Other hopefuls in McManus's colours this weekend include smart bumper-winner New Field, trained by Paddy Mullins, which will run in the maiden hurdle at Naas. while the Mouse Morris-trained Fota Island will attempt to build on his recent second to Watson Lake at Navan in a beginners chase at the same venue on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, recent Thurles scorer Oh Be The Hokey will carry the hopes of McManus and trainer Charlie Swan in the Stanleybet Troytown Chase.

Meanwhile, Ruby Walsh might double-up on Right Jack and Numbersixvalverde on today's card at Downpatrick.

Trained by Martin Brassil, Numbersixvalverde has always struck me as a decent staying chaser-in-the-making. And there was a lot to like about his recent second to Cane Brake in a beginners' chase at Galway.

That effort proved a major improvement on his chasing debut run in the hot 'novice' won by Mirpour at Tipperary.

With such experience and Ruby Walsh on board, Number-sixvalverde should be hard to beat in the Downpatrick Supporters Club Beginners Chase.

At levels, the Mouse Morris-trained Keepatem would have to be fancied against the selection but O'Dwyer's mount has shown little in two outings over fences and might have to settle for minor honours here.

Earlier, the Pat Fahy-trained Right Jack might gain an overdue hurdle success in the INH Stallion Owners Maiden Hurdle and initiate Walsh's double.

He has an official rating of 97 and held every chance when crashing at the second last in the handicap won by Native Hall at Cork, a race from which subsequent winners Maverick Dancer and Dubai Bound have already emerged.

Pat Fahy's gelding looks capable of a maiden success and might prove too strong for Bright Gas, which showed promise when third to Liberty Flag at Down Royal recently.

Barry Geraghty also has double prospects, on Pearl Lake in the opening maiden hurdle and Doodle Addle in the Toals Bookmakers On-Course Shop Beginners Chase.

CAPTION(S):

SWAN'S FLYING: Charlie Swan and Like-A-Butterfly win the 2003 AIB Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 17, 2004
Words:479
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