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  News Irving and Top Notch set for Newcastle rematch

Irving and Top Notch set for Newcastle rematch

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Irving will bid to become the first horse since Dato Star in 1998-99 to win back-to-back runnings of the StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle when he lines up for the Grade One showpiece at Newcastle on Saturday.

Irving will bid to become the first horse since Dato Star in 1998-99 to win back-to-back runnings of the StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle when he lines up for the Grade One showpiece at Newcastle on Saturday.

The Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old took the race 12 months ago after falling on his previous outing, but returns in tremendous heart having won the Elite and Price Rush Hurdles already this month.

Top Notch, who was runner-up to Irving at Haydock last Saturday on his seasonal reappearance, renews rivalry. He will be Nicky Henderson's sole representative after the Seven Barrows trainer withdrew his two other entries, Hargam and Sign Of A Victory, at the 48-hour final declaration stage.

Willie Mullins relies on his supplementary entry Wicklow Brave after taking out Arctic Fire.

Identity Thief, who was also added at Monday's confirmation stage by County Waterford handler Henry de Bromhead, is a second Irish-trained raider in a final field of seven.

John Ferguson has chosen to run Purple Bay and not Commissioned, while Robert Stephens' smart Beltor and the Karl Burke-trained filly Intense Tango, complete the septet.