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Vic carries local hopes in £300k feature

 

Perfect Ten: Zero Ten, ridden by David Mullins, clears the last on the way to winning Connolly’s Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Series Final at Punchestown yesterday
Perfect Ten: Zero Ten, ridden by David Mullins, clears the last on the way to winning Connolly’s Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Series Final at Punchestown yesterday

By Ron McKnight

The Ladbrokes Stayers Hurdle features on the third session of the Punchestown Festival and Killultagh Vic represents local owners.

The former high class chaser is owned by a syndicate comprising Marie Armstrong, whose husband Adam was a member of the Monty's Pass syndicate that landed the Aintree Grand National in 2003, Crossgar's Rose Boyd, owner of Champion Hurdler Hurricane Fly, and James Armstrong.

The £300,000 feature has attracted several cross channel raiders and the enigmatic Unowhatimeanharry gets a chance to come good on home soil for owner JP McManus and trainer Harry Fry.

Curious Times, owned by the Sloan family and trained at Larne by Stuart Crawford, was a Down Royal winner in January and contests the opening handicap hurdle.

The La Touche Cup over the banks course holds massive appeal. The race saw Crawford transfer from the eventing discipline to racing following the victory of Oh Jackie in 2008. Templepatrick trainer Graham McKeever runs Samsara while the Jim Dreaper trained Sizing Coal won the Armagh point to point feature prior to course success.

Enniskillen's Caroline Woods and partner Peter Maher are doubly represented by Mtada Supreme and Ballybroker Bridge, third in the race last year, while Jarob filled third in the Cheltenham equivalent last November before finishing fifth behind Josie's Orders at the festival and the latter, trained by King Of The Banks Enda Bolger already on the score sheet on day one, looks the one to beat.

Getareason finished runner-up in a point to point before Ballyclare handler Warren Ewing sold him to Willie Mullins for £140,000 and is engaged in the three mile handicap hurdle while Belfast's Hunt family are represented by Moyross.

British Champion jockey Richard Johnson is a notable booking for Defii Du Seuil, trained by Philip Hobbs in the Grade 1 Ryanair Champion Novice Chase - the trainer having already recorded success yesterday and appears today's banker.

Banbridge rider Mark O'Hare is aboard the Noel Meade trained Six Shooter in the finale but the aptly named The Big Getaway, a £230,000 purchase, in the finale can score for father and son duo, Willie and Patrick Mullins.

Apple's Jade features among a field of seven declared for the Betdaq Punchestown Champion Hurdle on Friday.

The Gordon Elliot-trained mare was invincible in the first half of the season but now has to redeem herself after under-par runs at Cheltenham and Aintree.

The last two winners of this prize, Jessica Harrington's Supasundae and the Willie Mullins-trained Wicklow Brave, bid for glory again.

Mullins also has Melon in the line-up on Friday - while Petit Mouchoir, from Henry de Bromhead's stable, is the other Irish-based runner.

The two UK hopefuls are Nicky Henderson's Buveur D'Air and the Tom George-trained Summerville Boy. City Island is the headline act in the other Grade One on the Punchestown Friday card, the Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle.

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