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Bay to return to scene of triumph

PAUL NICHOLLS' Lexus hero Tidal Bay is one of the 16 entries in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown on February 9.

Galvanised by Ruby Walsh to come home first in a dramatic finish to the Christmas highlight over course and distance, Tidal Bay could face a rematch with two of the other three horses involved in the conclusion.

Peter Casey's popular Flemenstar (third) and Sir Des Champs (fourth) have both been entered, with the latter's trainer Willie Mullins having won the last two renewals of Irish jumping's flagship race, and eight in total.

He has put in Quel Esprit too, while Henry de Bromhead's Sizing Europe has been given an entry as the trainer assesses his options.

Nicholls has back-up in jnwine.com Champion Chase winner Kauto Stone with Jonjo O'Neill giving the option for Ryanair star Albertas Run.

Other notable Irish contenders are Joncol, China Rock, Roi Du Mee, Seabass, Prince De Beauchene and Bog Warrior.

Tom Scudamore has three possible mounts in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

David Pipe's stable jockey could ride Grands Crus for his boss or one of David Bridgwater's two entries - last year's Gold Cup runner-up The Giant Bolster and impressive Ascot winner Wyck Hill.

"The Betfred Gold Cup entries are out and I have three possibles -- Grands Crus, The Giant Bolster and Wyck Hill," said Scudamore.

"I still think Bobs Worth will take all the beating (in the Gold Cup), while Silviniaco Conti has done nothing but impress this season.

"Of the Irish entries, I really like the Willie Mullins-trained Sir Des Champs."