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First Race Saturday 16th @ 12.15. First Race Sunday @ 12.05.
Admission €15, €10 seniors/students and under 14 years free
Mullins aims for Cloud 9 in Grade 1 Unibet Morgiana Hurdle
Willie Mullins will launch a three-pronged attack on the Grade 1 Unibet Morigana Hurdle with Klassical Dream, Sharjah and Saldier aiming to extend Mullins' unprecedented record to nine straight wins in the Punchestown feature.
The Grade 1 Unibet Morgiana Hurdle has proven to be a renowned stepping stone for the Grade 1 Unibet Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and Mullins is well equipped to enjoy more success as the Unibet Morgiana Hurdle takes place on a Saturday for the first time.
As Mullins looks for his ninth consecutive renewal of the €100,000 contest his stable jockey Paul Townend seeks a third having won the 2017 renewal on Faugheen and the 2018 renewal on Sharjah. Townend rides the triple Grade 1 winning novice Klassical Dream on Saturday with champion amateur Patrick Mullins being reunited with last year's winner Sharjah and Danny Mullins taking the ride on Saldier.
Completing the Unibet Morigana Hurdle field for 2019 is Petit Mouchoir, trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by Rachael Blackmore and Yaha Fizz who is the mount of Martin Mooney for Meath based trainer Eamonn Delany.
Faugheen begins new chapter at Punchestown
As well as the Grade 1 Unibet Morgiana Hurdle, day one of Punchestown's Winter Festival will see former Morgiana Hurdle and Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen make his debut over fences.
Faugheen, who is a nine-time Grade 1 winner, faces a field of 16 rivals in the Naas Oil Beginners Chase over 2m3f on Saturday as he attempts to complete a clean sweep at Punchestown where he was a winner of a bumper and six hurdles.
Among Faugheen's opposition is his talented stable companion Antey, who hasn't raced since providing Katie Walsh with a fairy-tale final winner at the 2018 Punchestown Festival.
Seven runners are due to go to post for the Grade 2 Elliott Group Craddockstown Novice Chase where Davy Russell will ride the Gordon Elliott-trained and Gigginstown House-owned Eclair De Beaufeu.
A winner at Wexford last time out, Eclair De Beaufeu will renew his rivalry with course and distance winner Notebook, who held Eclair De Beaufeu here at Punchestown last month.
Notebook's trainer Henry de Bromhead also runs Moon Over Germany in a race he won with the subsequent Gold Cup winner Sizing John back in 2015.
Another eye-catching name on the list of runners at Punchestown on Saturday is the Joseph O'Brien-trained Blue Sari. The JP McManus-owned runner was second in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival to the unbeaten Envoi Allen and will try and replicate Envoi Allen on Saturday by making a winning debut over hurdles in the Kildare Now Maiden Hurdle.
Elliott goes into Battle on Sunday
Battleoverdoyen will aim to supplement his beginners chase win at Galway when stepping up in grade for the Liam & Valerie Brennan Memorial Florida Pearl Novice Chase at Punchestown on Sunday.
A Grade 1 winning novice hurdler at Naas last season, Battleoverdoyen is the mount of Davy Russell in Sunday's Grade 2 contest where he will meet Ted Walsh's locally trained Cheltenham Festival winner Any Second Now.
Elliott commented on Friday morning: "The Florida Pearl looks a perfect race for Battleoverdoyen before we think about moving him up to three miles. He was a Grade 1 winner over hurdles and I'm hoping he will do the same as a chaser and hopefully he will take beating at the weekend. He is in good form and has come on for his run in Galway so we are looking forward to bringing him back to Punchestown."
Another Cheltenham Festival set to grace Punchestown on Sunday is the Willie Mullins-trained Eglantine Du Seuil who won the National Hunt Breeders Supported By Tattersalls Mares´ Novices´ Hurdle as a 50/1 chance last March.
Eglantine Du Seuil will be ridden by Rachael Blackmore in the Frontline Security Grabel Mares Hurdle as Paul Townend opts with last year's winner of the race Stormy Ireland.
Action returns to the famous Punchestown cross country course on Sunday as the EMS Copiers Risk Of Thunder Chase begins proceedings at 12.05pm.
Course specialist Ballyboker Bridge is one of four runners in the race for local trainer Peter Maher, while Enda Bolger will saddle also saddle four runners in the field with the multiple Grade 1 winning hurdler Yanworth the stand-out inclusion in the field.
Unibet Morgiana Hurdle betting courtesy of Unibet: Klassical Dream 8/13, Sharjah 7/2, Saldier 4/1, Petit Mouchoir 20/1, Yaha Fizz 100/1