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Petit Mouchoir heads local charge at Festival

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Big chance: trainer Henry de Bromhead with Petit Mouchoir

Big chance: trainer Henry de Bromhead with Petit Mouchoir

Big chance: trainer Henry de Bromhead with Petit Mouchoir

There will be no shortage of local interest in the two days of the Dublin Racing Festival.

The event boasts almost £2million in prize money and today features the Irish Champion Hurdle.

Petit Mouchoir won a Kirkistown point to point, while Honeysuckle was produced by Banbridge trainer Gerry Cosgrave to win on her debut and is unbeaten in six races for new connections. Today's result in the £200,000 contest will determine whether Henry de Bromhead's stable star tackles the Champion Hurdle or a novice race at the March Festival.

Shumaker is the stable star of Dundrod handler Paul Traynor's small team and, having recorded a hat-trick of wins last season, bounced back to again be in the Fairyhouse winners enclosure earlier this month.

Shumaker has solid claims in the £150,000 Ladbrokes Hurdle.

Tomorrow sees the feature of the two days with the £225,000 Irish Gold Cup, now sponsored by Paddy Power.

Bellshill was a product of Wilson Dennison's Templepatrick nursery and is one of a trio representing champion trainer Willie Mullins, including favourite Kemboy.

Delta Work flopped in the recent Down Royal Festival feature when fourth but could bounce back at the top level and is a dual winner at the Foxrock track.

Yorkhill is another produced at the Dennison base and is set to carry top weight in the handicap chase. However, JP McManus has 10 engaged and Omagh jockey Simon Torrens has been booked for the John Kiely-trained Portmore Lough after partnering his first winner for the leading Irish owner earlier this week at the Maze.

The Jam Man has proved a star for Armagh trainer Ronan McNally, winning a total of eight races, and ran very well to finish fourth at Cheltenham on New Year's Day, while Braeside is another former Dennison inmate in the three mile handicap chase.

Battleoverdoyen is another recruit from Cosgrave's Banbridge stables, now trained by Gordon Elliott, and gets the vote to deny former champion hurdler Faugheen in the Grade One novice chase with Castlebawn West carrying the colours of Crossgar-based Rose Boyd - who owned Champion Hurdle legend Hurricane Fly - and is also trained by Willie Mullins.

Meanwhile, trainer Olly Murphy is hoping to cap his great recent run with the first Grade One victory of his fledgling career when Itchy Feet runs in the Betway Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown today.

Murphy came close to breaking his duck at the highest level at last year's Cheltenham Festival when Thomas Darby, Itchy Feet and Brewin'upastorm all went close. Murphy sparked into life with 15 winners last month at a strike-rate of 40 per cent.

Belfast Telegraph