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Master McShee drops in trip for Webster Cup

Paddy Corkery’s Master McShee steps down in trip for a tilt at the Webster Cup Chase at Navan on Saturday.

The eight-year-old was last seen contesting the Grade One Ladbrokes Novice Chase at Leopardstown in February, a race in which he finished second to the exciting Galopin Des Champs – currently head of the market for the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and vying for favouritism with Bob Olinger in the Turners’ Novices’ Chase.

Prior to that the bay was victorious in the Faugheen Novice Chase at Limerick, another Grade One event in which he beat subsequent Ten Up Novice Chase winner Farouk D’alene.

While the latter is also heading to Cheltenham next week, Corkery’s stable star will line up for Grade Two Navan feature and is reported to be in good form.

“He’s just like his trainer, he’s doing very well!” Corkery said.

“He’s in Navan for Saturday, the two-mile chase. He’s been to the beach, he was very relaxed and so was I.

Ian Power won his first Grade One on Master McShee
Master McShee was a Grade One winner at Christmas (Thomas Weekes/PA)

“He ran very well last time, we were delighted with him, he was against some very, very good opposition.

“We’ll be keeping a close eye on Galopin Des Champs (at Cheltenham) and I’ve a feeling he’ll do very well.”

This weekend’s contest is a drop back to two miles, but Master McShee has hurdles form over the distance and Corkery is not concerned about a lack of speed.

As a novice hurdler the gelding crossed paths with subsequent Supreme winner Appreciate It, finishing second to Willie Mullins’ unbeaten hurdler in a two-mile maiden on heavy ground at Cork.

“He won his maiden hurdle at two miles and he acquitted himself exceptionally well against Appreciate It over two miles,” Corkery said.

“Maybe two miles around Navan in those conditions won’t be an issue.

“He doesn’t seem to be lacking in speed, any horse that can put it up to Appreciate It has plenty of speed.”

Though Corkery expects Master McShee to be at his best on good ground, he has proven himself to be particularly apt at handling testing going and will find no difficulty in the expected soft conditions.

“He is a good horse on soft ground but he’d be exceptionally good on good ground, this ground won’t inconvenience him,” the trainer said.

“The day he met Appreciate It in Cork it was the same ground, soft to heavy.”

Master McShee faces five rivals, including the classy Notebook (Henry de Bromhead), who was last seen finishing third to Allaho at Thurles.

Cilaos Emery (Willie Mullins), Castlegrace Paddy (Pat Fahy), Early Doors (Joseph O’Brien) and Sizing Pottsie (Jessica Harrington) add further strength in depth.

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