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Last Updated: 08/02/13 3:10pm
Boston Bob (right): Better show expected on quicker ground
The much talked about Boston Bob aims to book his ticket to next month's Cheltenham Festival in the Dr. P.J. Moriarty Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Saturday.
The eight-year-old was Ireland's leading staying novice hurdler last season, winning each of his three starts on home turf before finding the ill-fated Brindisi Breeze too strong in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham in March.
He just prevailed when long odds-on for his chasing debut at Navan in December but with the Festival little over a month away, trainer Willie Mullins feels he has little option but to test the water at Grade One level.
"I was hoping to find an easier contest than this for him but if he's going to go to Cheltenham he's got to go and prove he's up to it," said Mullins.
"I think the drying ground is a help and on his homework I think he's improving. He lacks a bit of experience, but I think he's up to it, and either way I think he'll gain some good experience from running in a Grade One race like this."
Boston Bob is entered in four novice chases at Cheltenham next month, ranging from the two-mile Arkle Trophy to the four-mile National Hunt Chase.
Mullins said: "We gave him all the entries, but I haven't been able to get as many runs into him as I'd have liked. We're looking at longer trips with him at the moment."