Irving pencilled in for Haydock

Fighting Fifth Hurdle hero Irving is set to make his next appearance in the StanJames.com Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock later this month.

Irving: Could head to Haydock

The nine-year-old looked every inch a top-class performer when winning the Newcastle feature in 2014, but results have been mixed since.

He was bitterly disappointing when defending his crown at Gosforth Park the following year and finished tailed-off on his only other start of the season in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton.

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However, he got it all together in late November to regain his Fighting Fifth crown, seeing off subsequent Hatton's Grace winner Apple's Jade by a nose.

Petit Mouchoir, so impressive in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown over the festive period, was still travelling strongly when falling three flights from the finish.

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Dan Downie, racing manager for Irving's owners the Axom syndicate, said: "He is likely to go to Haydock for the Champion Hurdle trial, as long as the ground is soft enough.

"The Fighting Fifth form looks strong. The horse that fell looked very good over Christmas, so maybe we got a bit of luck, but we'll take that.

"A lot of people knock Irving, but I wish we had 20 others like him that's for sure."

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