Larne trainer Stuart Crawford feels Killyglen can win the Buy Tickets Online Handicap Hurdle at Punchestown today — as double Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Kauto Star is not in the race!
Killyglen finished fifth behind winner Kauto Star in the JNwine.com Chase at last month’s Down Royal Festival.
“Thankfully there’s no Kauto Star in the Punchestown race,” smiled Crawford.
“The big Down Royal race was a different league but Killyglen still ran respectably. The ground was not in his favour that day.
“He should go well at Punchestown. The weights are in his favour although the ground is softer than he would ideally like. But he is a good mover with a bit of class,” added Crawford, who has secured the services of Paul Carberry for the ride.
Meanwhile, Mikael D'Haguenet was a big disappointment as Realt Dubh came out on top in a dramatic race for the Bord na Mona With Nature Novice Chase at Leopardstown yesterday.
Willie Mullins' charge was sent off the 4-7 favourite to make amends for his last-fence fall at Fairyhouse, but never looked like landing the odds.
Saludos set out to make all and was still leading as they turned for home, only to give Robbie Power a heavy fall at the final fence.
That left Realt Dubh (10-1) in front as Paul Carberry brought Noel Meade's charge home five lengths clear of Noble Prince, who stayed on well to collar Torphichen for second place. Mikael D'Haguenet came home in fifth.
“I was a bit disappointed with him the last day at Fairyhouse but he jumped brilliant today,” said Meade last night.
“He could come back for the Irish Arkle and we'll see what happens, but he could be a contender for the Cheltenham Arkle next March.”
Mullins said of Mikael D'Haguenet: “I'm hoping he was maybe just flat after Fairyhouse.
“I wasn't happy from the fifth. He didn't jump great down the back and his rhythm went.”