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Willie Mullins targets another Punchestown domination

By Richard Forristal

Willie Mullins unleashes two of his most impressive Cheltenham winners as he bids to continue his relentless domination at Punchestown.

Douvan and Don Poli will turn out under Ruby Walsh and Bryan Cooper respectively. It's hard to make a case against either, but the day's marquee event is competitive.

Mullins will saddle three in the €200,000 Boylesports Champion Chase. The Grade One lacks a little quality, but contenders like Mallowney, Hidden Cyclone and the evergreen reigning champion Sizing Europe have the potential to bring the house down.

3.40 Fr Sean Breen Memorial (banks) 3m: Little worthwhile form to go on. Enda Bolger has won four of the last five renewals and has booked last year's winning rider Nina Carberry for Wish Ye Didnt. The point-to-point winner has been running well.

Verdict: Wish Ye Didnt.

4.20 Herald Champion Novices' Hurdle 2m: Douvan lived up to expectations with a facile defeat of Shaneshill and Sizing John in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Blair Perrone ran well off a slow pace at Fairyhouse and is capable of better, likewise Sizing John, which has been beaten an aggregate 19 lengths in two clashes with Douvan.

Verdict: Douvan.

4.55 Killashee Handicap Hurdle 2m: Easy Limerick winner Cliff House is seven pounds higher as he strives for a third win in four starts. Astre De La Cour, Fethard Player and The Game Changer filled the first three spots at Aintree and do battle again. Of the three, The Game Changer is interesting, as a stronger pace might suit.

Verdict: The Game Changer can defy top-weight.

5.30 Boylesports Champion Chase 2m: Hidden Cyclone sports first-time blinkers back over the minimum trip. Two miles suits him best and he was as good as ever when slamming Bright New Dawn here in February, when Twinlight was third.

Twinlight was no match for Mallowney at Naas before turning the tables on him at Fairyhouse in the Normans Grove. A Grade One winner at Christmas, he will be thereabouts again. Mallowney was disappointing at Fairyhouse.

Davy Russell had got a great tune out of him in his two previous outings, but the edge didn't seem to be there last time. That is worrying, though he was a good handicap winner here in 2014.

Verdict: Mallowney is napped to bounce back for Tim Doyle.

6.05 Goffs Land Rover Bumper 2m: Art Of Synergy ran an eye-catching race when third to Sizing Titanium over hurdles. Verdict: Art Of Synergy.

6.40 Growise Champion Novices' Chase 3m 1f: Don Poli was a hugely authoritative winner of the RSA. He is straightforward, with a relaxed running style, a measured jumping technique and tendency to find plenty.

Verdict: Don Poli can secure his Grade One hat-trick.

7.15 JLT INH Flat Race 2m: Startinfromscratch is interesting. Of those that have run, Coeur Joyeux's Leopardstown second to Charbel stands out.

Verdict: Coeur Joyeux looks solid for Katie Walsh.

Belfast Telegraph


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