Mullins set for Punchestown
Mullins' big guns head for next week's Punches town Festival
Last Updated: 18/04/12 5:43pm
Quel Esprit: Could tackle the Punchestown Gold Cup
Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins is planning another strong assault on next week's Punchestown Festival, with Hurricane Fly and Quevega leading his team.
With 12 winners in both 2009 and 2010, he had seven last spring, highlighted by Hurricane Fly in the Rabobank Champion Hurdle on Friday week.
He had also won that race the previous year and will bid for the hat-trick after finishing only third in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last month.
"Hurricane Fly will run in the Rabobank Champion Hurdle but that is going to be a tough race with Overturn confirmed to be coming over," said Mullins.
"Maybe Zaidpour might also run, I'm not sure, and we will have to see how Thousand Stars is closer to the time."
The brilliant mare Quevega will be going for a third consecutive win in the Ladbrokes.com World Series Hurdle on Thursday week.
Following a fourth successive victory in the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham, she will be up against Colm Murphy's Voler La Vedette, runner-up to Big Buck's in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham.
"I'm sure Quevega will go to the World Series Hurdle," said Mullins.
"I have had four or five that have ran in that type of race all season as they had no other options, the likes of Mourad, Mikael D'Haguenet, So Young and Zaidpour.
"We could have two or three in that race or maybe even a fourth as it is their last race of the season."
Going for Gold
Irish Hennessy hero Quel Esprit could be Mullins' only runner in the tote.com Punchestown Gold Cup next Wednesday.
Mullins reports the grey to be back to form after missing the Cheltenham Gold Cup when failing to impress in his final workout.
"Quel Esprit will probably be our only runner in the tote.com Punchestown Gold Cup. We are happy enough with him at the moment," Mullins said.
"Obviously we weren't quite happy over there (Cheltenham), but all his riders have reported that he is good so far."
Exciting prospect Sir Des Champs is set to step up to three miles for the Growise Champion Novice Chase on Tuesday after his emphatic victory in the Jewson Novices' Chase at Cheltenham.
"Sir Des Champs has appeared to come out of Cheltenham well and hasn't been doing much since then, but did do a nice piece of work yesterday and he will do another couple of little bits before Punchestown," said Mullins.
"We think he has more in the pot and is a dual Cheltenham Festival winner now.
"Call The Police and Bishopsfurze have had light seasons and can probably take another run so they may also run."
Boston Bob, second in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, will bid to end his season on a high in the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle, on Wednesday.
Mullins has other smart novices such as Felix Yonger, Allure Of Illusion, Midnight Game, Simenon and Terminal pencilled in for next week.
"Boston Bob will go for the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle," he went on.
"I would be keen to keep him and Felix Yonger apart, all being well, as they are in the same ownership (Graham Wylie).
"Felix Yonger will probably go for the two-and-a-half-mile Cathal Ryan Memorial Champion Novice Hurdle after his good run in Cheltenham and I have been happy with him since.
"Allure Of Illusion would look on course for the two-mile Evening Herald Champion Novice Hurdle on the Tuesday.
"I also have Midnight Game in that who has disappointed me a little, but I would think we will let him take his chance as it's the end of the season.
"At this stage, I would say Allure Of Illusion is a definite, and we will have a look at Simenon and Terminal for that also. I would hope to run two or three in this race."