Willie Mullins runs two in Moscow Flyer at Punchestown
Last Updated: 11/01/19 1:08pm
Willie Mullins is double-handed as he bids to enhance his excellent record in the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday.
The champion trainer has claimed this Grade Two prize seven times in the last decade, with three subsequent Cheltenham Festival winners in Mikael D'Haguenet (2009), Vautour (2014) and Douvan (2015) among those on the roll of honour.
This year Mullins saddles Tramore maiden hurdle winner Harrie and talented mare Buildmeupbuttercup, who was a dual bumper winner for Mick Channon and made a successful start to her jumping career at Navan last month.
Ruby Walsh takes the ride on Harrie, with Paul Townend partnering Buildmeupbuttercup.
Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father, said: "Buildmeupbuttercup is a nice mare who looked like she was going to win easily in Navan before getting tired, like a lot of our horses have done.
"We'd be expecting her to improve plenty from that run and she gets a good bit of weight off the boys.
"I don't think the ground or the trip will be any trouble to her and hopefully she'll run well.
"Harrie also looked like he was going to win easily in Tramore and then got tired, too. We think there's a good bit of improvement in him as well.
"It was heavy ground when he won and it will be good ground on Sunday, so that is a question mark as he's a big, chasing type of horse.
"It looks a wide-open race and very competitive. Hopefully one or both of ours can show they're up to going to Cheltenham in March."
Harrie carries the colours of the Supreme Horse Racing Club, who are bidding for more big-race success after enjoying a Grade One double at Leopardstown's Christmas Festival with Aramon and Kemboy.
Steve Massey, racing manager for the owners, said: "Harrie is a horse we've always liked and it was great to see him get his head in front at Tramore.
"The ground, trip and track probably weren't ideal for him that day, but Willie obviously has a lot of novices to run and it was just a case of getting him out and getting him started.
"We think he's improved for the run and it will be interesting to see how he gets on.
"Willie has a brilliant record in the race and just for our horse to get an entry is a positive."
Gordon Elliott has not declared ante-post favourite Commander Of Fleet, but still has two chances, with Felix Desjy (Davy Russell) and Swordsman (Jack Kennedy) both in contention.
Henry de Bromhead's Jan Maat is a third runner for Gigginstown House Stud, while Jessica Harrington's Jetez completes a six-strong field.