Preview punchestown 13th Jan

Fri 12th Jan 2018, 13:20

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Getabird and Carter Mckay have some illustrious footprints to follow in the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown on Saturday.

Willie Mullins has used this Grade Two contest as a springboard to Cheltenham Festival glory in the past with Mikael D'Haguenet, Vautour and Douvan, and he also won it two years ago with the classy Min.

Getabird was a leading contender for last season's Champion Bumper until injury intervened but he made a sparkling jumping bow over two and a half miles here last month, while Carter Mckay also struck at the first time of asking over timber at Gowran Park a couple of weeks earlier.

Mullins saddles Makitorix as well, but he has had his limitations exposed and the big threat to the Closutton team comes from Mengli Khan.

Successful in the Royal Bond, Gordon Elliott's charge was then in a commanding position when running out at the second-last in the dramatic Grade One novice hurdle at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting.

Mullins and Elliott dominate the Grade Three Total Event Rental (Kildare) Novice Chase, with Pat Kelly's Mall Dini the only one of the seven candidates not hailing from the powerhouse yards.

The Elliott-trained Dounikos must concede weight all round thanks to his Grade Two victory at Limerick, while impressive beginners chase winners Koshari and Invitation Only are joined by the experienced Arbre De Vie from the Mullins stable.

Elliott's Warlike Intent justified string market support in a Clonmel bumper and now goes jumping in the sportinglife.com Maiden Hurdle, in which the standard is set by Jessica Harrington's Impact Factor.

Canaly attempts to repeat his triumph of 12 months ago in the Connolly's RED MILLS Amateur National (Q.R.) Handicap Chase, although time is catching up with him, while last-start scorers A Hardy Nailer and Allez Kal lock horns in the Leinster Leader Mares Handicap Hurdle.

Thurles winner Simple Steps has a 7lb rise to cope with in the opening Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Chase (12.25).

THE IRISH TIMES