The promising duo of Harrie and Buildmeupbuttercup will bid to continue the Willie Mullins domination of the Grade 2 Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday.
Cheltenham Festival winner Douvan, Vautour and Mikael D’Haguenet were among the seven previous winners that Mullins has sent out in the Sky Bet Mosow Flyer Hurdle over the last decade and the champion trainer looks to have targeted the race again with another two Cheltenham hopefuls.
Harrie and Buildmeupbuttercup were both seen winning maiden hurdles last month and face four rivals in Sunday’s feature contest.
“Harrie is coming back in distance having won at Tramore over two miles and five furlongs and this is a different grade of race but I think he will be more suited by this sort of trip. This will be his first run on good ground so we are not sure about how he’ll handle it but we’ve been happy with him since Tramore,” said Mullins.
“Buildmeupbuttercup ran very well in Navan on her debut over hurdles. She should have no problem with the trip or the ground. Both Buildbeupbuttercup and Harrie do lack experience over hurdles but that has been a narrative of the whole season with horses having to just run when they can and it is probably the same for a lot of horses.”
Jessica Harrington will bid to win the race named after her former stable star for a first time when sending out recent Leopardstown winner Jetez, while Gordon Elliott is double handed with Felix Desjy and Swordsman. The field is completed by the Henry de Bromhead-trained Jan Maat.
A field of nine goes to post for the Grade 3 Total Event Rental Novice Chase where Gordon Elliott’s supplies five of the runners. However, the one they could all have to beat is the Henry de Bromhead-trained A Plus Tard.
The Cheveley Park Stud-owned French import was placed in a Gowran Park beginner’s chase on his Irish debut and he followed that with a victory over Duc Des Genievres at Naas last month. The son of Kapgarde will once again be ridden by Rachel Blackmore.
“He’s in good shape and we’re looking forward to running him on Sunday. Everything has gone well with him since Naas and this race has been his aim since then,” reported de Bromhead.
“He is only five so hopefully there is more to come from him and we’re looking forward to seeing how he gets on at this level. His run here should tell us what direction we should be taking with him over the next couple of months,” added the trainer.
Winter Escape, who gave trainer Aidan Howard the biggest success of his career when landing a Grade 3 at Cork in November, has also been declared while Jessica Harrington relies on the Drinmore Novice Chase third Jetz. The Elliott quintet is headed by the recent Leopardstown winner Gun Digger and last season’s Cheltenham Festival winner Blow By Blow.
The ground at Punchestown is described as good on the hurdle and bumper course and good, good to yielding in places on the chase course ahead of Sunday’s fixture.
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