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05 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle (2m 5f)
It's neck and neck at the last before Hurricane Fly (blue) runs on to beat Jezki in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown last month When winning last month, Fiscal Focus, a 14-1 shot for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, gave McDonogh, trainer of iconic dual Champion Hurdle winner Monksfield, a welcome return to the big-race limelight.
The double became possible with the inauguration of the World Hurdle under its original name, the Spa Hurdle, in 1946, and the two horses who have done the double, Clair Soleil and Merry Deal, both did so more than half a century ago.
The champion trainer, who won the second of the affected hurdle races with Tara Point and a chase with Howlongisafoot, was baffled by the hurdles being bypassed but not the fences.
After a week of chasing excellence in Ireland, with Don Cossack, Defy Logic and Morning Assembly winning beginners' chases, Down Royal hosts the return of a novice hurdler who last season won three Grade 1s and was beaten only by Champagne Fever and My Tent Or Yours in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
Owned by Simon Such, the five-yearold ran out an impressive winner of the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival before finishing a creditable second to Zarkandar in open company in the Aintree Hurdle.
Trained by Alan King for the McNeill family, Grumeti was ruled out of the Champion Hurdle this month after missing his intended comeback in the Kingwell Hurdle with a back injury.