The Willie Mullins-trained Nichols Canyon, who was a brilliant winner of the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, bids to back up that performance by winning the Grade One Ladbrokes Stayers’ Hurdle at Punchestown today (5.30).
He will be joined by stablemates Shaneshill, Footpad and Clondaw Warrior as Willie Mullins chases the €250,000 prize.
Gordon Elliott has been the thorn in Mullins’ side all season and looks like he is closing in on a first trainer’s title with the gap between the two men just shy of €300,000.
If Elliott’s Sutton Place can pick up some of the prize-money in today’s feature, the 39-year-old trainer would be firmly in the driving seat to be crowned champion. Elliott also runs Jury Duty, Lieutenant Colonel and De Plotting Shed but it looks as though those three are just making up the numbers.
The Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase provides Great Field the opportunity to continue his unbeaten run over fences at 6.40pm. The Willie Mullins-trained gelding swats away fences like flies and races as fast as he can from the front. Jody McGarvey takes the ride in the colours of JP McManus, who is also represented by Ballyoisin.
With racing underway at 3.40 the going at Punchestown is good to yielding.