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Friday 9 December 2016

The Tullow Tank makes long-awaited return

The Tullow Tank, with Danny Mullins up, clears the last on their way to winning the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle. Photo: Sportsfile
The Tullow Tank, with Danny Mullins up, clears the last on their way to winning the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle. Photo: Sportsfile

Dual Grade One winner The Tullow Tank (right) makes his long-awaited return in the Kevin McManus Bookmaker Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary today.

The Barry Connell-owned eight-year-old won both the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse and the Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown back in 2013 before chasing home the brilliant Vautour.

Transferred from Philip Fenton to Dessie Hughes, he made a flying start to his career over fences the following season, but endured a disappointing winter in the care of the late trainer's daughter, Sandra, before signing off on a positive note when narrowly denied by Gilgamboa in last year's Ryanair Gold Cup.

The Tullow Tank missed the whole of the last campaign through injury, but makes his comeback and first start for trainer Alan Fleming in this weekend's Grade Three contest.

Connell said: "As long as the ground is suitable the intention is to run and it will be good to get him going. He hasn't had one specific problem, it's just been a number of issues we've wanted to sort out before we brought him back and hopefully we have.

"It will be a fact-finding mission more than anything. Hopefully he retains plenty of ability, but I'm sure he'll be a bit rusty. It's a nice race to start him back and it's a case of dipping our toe in the water again."

The Tullow Tank features in an 11-strong field, with Willie Mullins triple-handed in a bid to win the prize for the third year in succession.

Ivan Grozny is the chosen mount of stable jockey Ruby Walsh, with Paul Townend riding Sempre Medici and Danny Mullins aboard the admirable veteran Thousand Stars.

Other contenders include the Joseph O'Brien-trained Plinth and Colin Kidd's four-year-old Rashaan.

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