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Mullins gearing Aranleigh up for Moriarty test

Aranleigh is to sidestep the MCR Chase at Leopardstown tomorrow and wait for the Dr PJ Moriarty Chase there next month.

Trainer Tony Mullins landed the latter prize in 2003 with Barrow Drive and is hoping Aranleigh can book his ticket for the RSA Chase to the Cheltenham Festival.

Following a long lay-off, the JP McManus-owned eight-year-old has won both his starts this season and is reported to be in good shape.

"At the moment we intend to go for the Grade One on February 7 instead to see if we have an RSA horse," said the Gowran-based handler.

"He's been working well and did his latest piece of work this morning and that went well.

"His pedigree suggested two miles might be his best trip, but the jockeys who have ridden him say he's better at two and a half miles plus.

"For the moment we don't know if will get three miles one or not which will be the deciding factor with the RSA."

Malcolm Jefferson is ready to let Cape Tribulation lock horns with reigning Champion Hurdler Punjabi at Haydock on Saturday.

The six-year-old ran a fine race to chase home Zaynar in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on his penultimate start, before dropping back to the minimum trip and taking fourth in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

Jefferson feels the testing conditions will not inconvenience his charge in the sportingbet.com Champion Hurdle Trial on Merseyside and the trainer is hopeful of a bold show.

"He ran a blinder at Kempton and the ground shouldn't be a problem for him," said Jefferson.

"He ran well in a slowly run race behind Zaynar at Cheltenham and then ran well in a fast run race at Kempton, but it's hard to know what his best trip is really.

"I'd say two and a half but it looked as though he didn't get home at Aintree last season, although he probably wasn't as well that day as he was at Cheltenham the time before.

"We maybe did too much with him at Kempton as we rather set it up for those coming from behind, but he should run well on Saturday.

"There'll probably only be four or five runners but he should run nicely."

William Buick has spoken of his delight at landing a dream job as stable jockey to top Newmarket trainer John Gosden.

The 21-year-old, who only rode his first winner three years ago and was joint champion apprentice in 2008, replaces Jimmy Fortune.

"It's a dream come true to ride for Mr Gosden. He has some great horses and I can't wait to get started," said Buick from Dubai, where he is spending the winter and has already had ridden winners.

"While I feel bad for Jimmy, it is the opportunity of a lifetime and it is up to me to take that opportunity and make the most of it."

Timmy Murphy registered a personal milestone with his 1,000th British National Hunt success as Wizard of Edge worked his magic in the Shoreditch Handicap Chase at Taunton.

Murphy said: "It is nice to get that in the bag as I thought I was going backwards at one stage.

"The weather hasn't made that much difference as I am better fresh and have a spring in my step."