Posted: 15th Nov 2016
Mullins To Unveil Superstars at Punchestown This Weekend
Champion trainer Willie Mullins dominates the entries for the Grade 1 StanJames.com Morgiana Hurdle which is the feature race of the two-day Punchestown Winter Festival this weekend.
Mullins is responsible for seven of the 10 remaining entries with Faugheen, who won the Champion Hurdle at both Cheltenham and Punchestown in 2015, in line to make his first start since January, while Mullins has also included last season’s Champion Hurdle winner Annie Power and the Punchestown heroine, Vroum Vroum Mag, in a list of entries that is full of quality.
Trainer Gavin Cromwell is hopeful of running last season’s high class juvenile Jer’s Girl who won the Tattersalls Champion Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival by 10-lengths and Apple’s Jade, a 41-length winner of a Grade 1 last season is also included alongside the Joseph O’Brien-trained Triumph Hurdle winner Ivanovich Gorbatov.
Willie Mullins said; “We have left Annie Power, Faugheen, Ivan Grozny, Nichols Canyon, Sempre Medici, Simenon and Vroum Vroum Mag in the StanJames.com Morgiana Hurdle and I expect to have a few runners in the race as it is an important race and a nice time of year. We will decide on more definite plans after the horses work this week but it is a race we are looking forward to.”
Henry de Bromhead’s Grade 1 winning hurdler, Identity Thief, is set for a return back to Punchestown, where he won his beginners chase last month, when he lines up in the Grade 2 Ryans Cleaning Craddockstown Novice Chase.
The highly talented Alpha Des Obeaux is among 11 entries for Sunday’s other Grade 2, the Florida Pearl Novice Chase and he could well take on recent winners, A Toi Phil, Ball D’Arc, Call It Magic, Disko, Jetstream Jack, Namour and Space Cadet who have all been in good form of late.
Racing at Punchestown on Saturday is due off at 12pm and among the likely runners in the Luna Bar Supporting Cavan GAA is current Triumph Hurdle favourite Landofhopeandglory following his recent Fairyhouse success, while there will be action on the famous Punchestown cross country course with highly rated chasers Foxrock and Goonyella interesting entries in the Risk Of Thunder Chase.
Looking ahead to the weekend racing manager at Punchestown, Richie Galway, commented; “The ground is currently yielding, yielding to soft in places and we will have fresh ground on the hurdle track both days. This weekend features our first Grade 1 of the season and really marks the beginning of the top class action for us at Punchestown with the StanJames.com Morgiana Hurdle being the highlight.
“Our graded races look like they will have small fields but a lot of quality. The Morgiana has traditionally attracted a small entry but people want to see top class jump horses and they don’t come much better than Annie Power or Faugheen and Identity Thief is one of the most exciting novice chasers around and he’s due to run in the Craddockstown Novice Chase on Sunday as well. ”
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