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NEWS: Topham the target for Peregrine Run
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NEWS: Topham the target for Peregrine Run
on 20 March 2019
The Peter Fahey-trained Peregrine Run has the Grade 3 Topham Handicap Chase in his sights

Entries are revealed today for the two other races over the Grand National fences during the Randox Health Grand National Festival - the Randox Health Foxhunters' Chase and the Grade 3 Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase.

Both chases are staged over two miles, five furlongs and 19 yards, and the maximum field size is 30.

Ultragold (Colin Tizzard) has won the Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase for the last two years, including at 50/1 in 2017, and the 11-year-old is among 76 entries for this year's edition.

Ultragold has the opportunity to emulate Always Waining (2010, 2011, 2012), the only triple winner of the Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase, though connections have indicated that he is more likely to contest the £1-million Randox Health Grand National.

Nicky Henderson has five Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase triumphs to his name and recently won three successive renewals with Triolo D'Alene (2013), Ma Filleule (2014) and Rajdhani Express (2015).

The Lambourn handler has ten entries in total, the most of any trainer, including Grade 3 Ultima Handicap Chase victor Beware The Bear and likely top-weight Janika, who took second in the Grade 3 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate at Cheltenham on March 14th.

Willie Mullins accounts for three of the 11 Irish-trained entries this year, with his team including dual Grade 3 scorer Cadmium and Leinster National third Bellow Mome. No Irish-trained horse has captured the Randox Health Topham Chase since Cregg House in 2005.

Gordon Elliott has Irish Grand National hero General Principle among three entries, while Henry De Bromhead is double-handed with Sub Lieutenant and Valseur Lido. All three horses are owned by Gigginstown House Stud.

Co Kildare handler Peter Fahey is targeting the Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase with classy performer Peregrine Run.

A Grade 2 winner over hurdles at Cheltenham in November, 2016, Peregrine Run has since won five of his 11 chase starts. The nine-year-old enjoyed a fruitful campaign in the early part of this season, winning a competitive handicap chase at Killarney in August and the Listed M.W. Hickey Memorial Chase at Wexford in October. He has not raced since finishing fourth behind Snow Falcon in a Grade 2 contest for second-season chasers at Down Royal on November 3rd.

Fahey revealed: "Peregrine Run is in good form. He will have a run over hurdles at Thurles this weekend and that will hopefully leave him spot on for Aintree.

"We had a good time of it with him in the earlier in the season. We wanted to give him a winter break but, with the way things worked out with the ground over here, we probably ended up giving him a break at the wrong time.

"The last time he ran in handicap, I thought he was very impressive at Killarney. I am looking forward to getting him back in a handicap - he is a quick, accurate jumper and I think the Topham will suit provided the ground is in his favour."

Other high-profile entries for the Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase include Double Shuffle (Tom George) and recent Grade 3 Greatwood Gold Cup scorer San Benedeto, one of six entries for Paul Nicholls.

FOXHUNTERS' CHASE

There are 44 entries for the £45,000 Randox Health Foxhunters' Chase, up from 38 in 2018.

They include Road To Rome (Joseph O'Shea) who ran a gallant race from the front when fourth in the St. James's Place Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham on March 15. Ucello Conti (Gordon Elliott IRE), who has contested the Randox Health Grand National for the last three years, was a place further back in fifth.

Balnaslow (Graham McKeever IRE) and Bear's Affair (Philip Rowley) fought out the finish to the 2018 Randox Health Foxhunters' Chase and could lock horns again.

Owner David Maxwell has six entries to choose from, as he continues his quest to be crowned champion amateur jockey. They include Cheltenham third Shantou Flyer (Richard Hobson) and other familiar names such as Road To Riches (David Christie IRE), a G1 winner in his pomp for Noel Meade, and Unioniste (Paul Nicholls).

Leading Irish-trained runner Burning Ambition (Pierce Power) is also engaged.

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