Hurricane Fly, Quevega, Cpt Chris – Punchestown plans for these and others plus entries list and trainer quotes


Champion trainer Willie Mullins has an abundance of options going into the Punchestown Festival next month (Tuesday, May 3 to Saturday, May 7) when Cheltenham hero Hurricane Fly will seek to repeat last year’s success in the Grade 1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle on Friday, May 6. 

Hurricane Fly is among 16 exciting entries for the 160,000 euros Rabobank Champion Hurdle over two miles, one of seven races at the Festival for which entries are revealed today, Monday April 18. 

Mullins’ stable star has already annexed the Grade 1 BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle and the Grade 1 Stan James Champion Hurdle this year and is bidding for his third Punchestown Festival win in as many years having landed the Grade 1 Evening Herald Champion Novice Hurdle in 2009. 

Mullins revealed: “I am pleased with Hurricane Fly at the moment and the plan is to go to the Rabobank Champion Hurdle. 

“We have had ups and downs with him the past couple of years but this year everything has gone according to plan and we are happy that at Cheltenham he was able to show what we always hoped he might do. We were very pleased with that and delighted with how he has come out of Cheltenham.” 

The entries for the Rabobank Champion Hurdle also reveal the prospect of a mouthwatering clash with the Nicky Henderson-trained Binocular, winner of the 2010 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, as well as the Philip Hobbs-trained Menorah, fifth behind Hurricane Fly at Cheltenham in March.                                                                       

Hobbs commented: “Menorah was disappointing in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and there was no real reason for it. He is in good form now, he was a little bit flat for a week or two but he seems fine now so we will go straight to the Rabobank Champion Hurdle.” 

The Philip Fenton-trained multiple Grade 1 winner Dunguib was eighth in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, while the Colm Murphy-trained mare Voler La Vedette missed that event in March and was last seen winning the Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle at Navan in February.





Although the brilliant mare Quevega is entered in the Rabobank Champion Hurdle, trainer Willie Mullins has revealed that she is more likely to bid for a second consecutive victory in the  Grade 1 World Series Hurdle over three miles on Thursday, May 5

Quevega slammed her rivals to take the 160,000 euros World Series Hurdle in 2010 and is fresh from an historic third consecutive win in the Grade 2 David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle over two mile and five furlongs at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Mullins reported: “Quevega will be going for the three-mile hurdle, I think. I worried whether we had got her straight enough for Cheltenham but I think maybe it actually suits her better to be like that because she was very impressive. I am quite pleased with her and how she has come out of Cheltenham.”

Another among the 20 Ladbrokes World Hurdle entries is Quevega’s stablemate Thousand Stars, who is also engaged in the Rabobank Champion Hurdle, and Mullins has yet to finalise a target for the seven-year-old following his close second to Oscar Whisky in the two and a half-mile Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle nine days ago.

He said: “At the moment, Thousand Stars seems to be in good form after Aintree. We won’t make a decision up until the day, which way we go with him.”

Mullins has six entries in the race, the others being Grade 1 Ladbrokes World Hurdle third Mourad, last year’s Grade 1 Evening Herald Champion Novice Hurdle victor Blackstairmountain, 2009 Grade 1 Cathal Ryan Memorial Champion Novice Hurdle hero Mikael D’Haguenet and the progressive Sir Des Champs, victorious in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March. 

 The trainer said of the last-named: “We’re yet to decide what to do with Sir Des Champs. All I know is that I have only run him three times and he has won three times, so I don’t know how good he is. We might decide to find out or we might put him out to grass. I have a few entries for him and could run him in a handicap, so we’ll see.”

 Others engaged in the World Series Hurdle include the Gordon Elliott-trained Coral Cup winner Carlito Brigante and the Sabrina Harty-trained Won In The Dark, fourth and third respectively behind Big Buck’s in the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree last time.





Captain Chris heads to Punchestown for the 90,000 euros Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase in an attempt to add the two-mile contest to his victory in the Grade 1 The Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival in March. 

 Philip Hobbs’ charge, one of 12 entries for the Ryanair Novice Chase on Thursday, May 5, held Finian’s Rainbow at Cheltenham and that rival franked the form with an impressive win at Aintree recently.

 Hobbs revealed: “I am very much intending to run Captain Chris as well as Menorah. Captain Chris has come out of Cheltenham really well and he is doing good.

 “I would have gone to Aintree but there was no race for him there, so he will head over to Punchestown where we hope he can run another good race.

 “He wouldn’t want it soft and I’m sure Punchestown will keep it safe.”


Paul Nolan has entered Noble Prince, winner of the Grade 2 Jewson Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham, while Paul Nicholls could run Ghizao who has twice beaten Captain Chris but was only fifth to his rival in the Arkle.

The Noel Meade-trained Realt Dubh held Noble Prince when winning a pair of Grade 1 contests at Leopardstown earlier in the season and was third in the Arkle at Cheltenham, while the Jessica Harrington-trained Saludos won the Grade Two Flyingbolt Novice Chase at Navan in February.

 Also among the entries are the Willie Mullins-trained trio of Blazing TempoTawaag and Quel Esprit.






A fantastic 30-strong entry for the Cathal Ryan Memorial Champion Novice Hurdle on  Friday, May 6, includes the Willie Mullins-trained So Young, a fine third to the Mouse Morris-trained First Lieutenant in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

First Lieutenant landed that Grade 1 contest by a short-head, with So Young a further four and a half lengths back. Both horses are also engaged in the two-mile Grade 1 Evening Herald Champion Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival.

So Young had won his previous four starts, including an easy success over two miles in the Festival Offers Novice Hurdle in February.

Mullins revealed: “So Young is entered in the two-mile race too, so we won’t decide until nearer the day. I have always thought he was more of a stayer but I will wait to decide because a lot depends on the other horses and how they work between now and then. It’s a little ways off and we have to get through Fairyhouse first”

Those other Mullins’ horses include Grade 1 winner Zaidpour, dual Grade 2 scorer Gagewell Flyer, French import Raptor, and Listed hurdle winner Bishopsfurze who could head to Punchestown having missed the Cheltenham Festival.

Jessica Harrington has engaged Oscars Well, unlucky when fourth to First Lieutenant at Cheltenham, while other entries include the Dessie Hughes-trained Canaly and the prolific mare Our Girl Salley, trained by Prunella Dobbs.






Unaccompanied is among 22 entries for the 80,000 euros AES Champion 4YO Hurdle over two miles at Punchestown on Saturday, May 7.

The Dermot Weld-trained filly has won the Listed Alleged Stakes on the Flat since her  excellent second to Zarkandar in the Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham. She had previously defeated the Edward O’Grady-trained Sailors Warn, the Ado McGuinness-trained Fearless Falcon and the Jessica Harrington-trained Chaperoned into the minor places when winning the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown in February.

Among the entries are five high-class candidates from Britain, including the Alan King-trained Kumbeshwar, runner-up to Zarkandar at Aintree last time, and the Nicky Henderson-trained Grandouet, third in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.

Third Intention from the Colin Tizzard yard won at Cheltenham on April 14, while Paul Nicholls could saddle Empire Levant and Brendan Powell has engaged Pullyourfingerout.

Kumbeshwar had finished a neck second to the Arthur Moore-trained What A Charm in the Grade 3 Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

Others of note include the O’Grady-trained Rigidity who held the John O’Shea-trained Devils Bit at Gowran in February, the Mouse Morris-trained Tillahow, and Twinlight, an interesting French import from the Willie Mullins yard.



The Punchestown Festival takes place from Tuesday, May 3, to Saturday, May 7, 2011 and includes 11 Grade 1 races over the five days. First race 3.40pm (2.30pm Saturday).


Visit to book tickets, find accommodation and arrange transport to and from the Festival. World Series Hurdle (Grade 1) €99,200.00 (3m – 4yo+)


Form Horse Trainer

4141 Battle Group (GB) (David Pipe GB)

15-27 Blackstairmountain (Willie Mullins)

0-214 Carlito Brigante (Gordon Elliott)

139-2 Donnas Palm (Noel Meade)

36-18 Dunguib (Philip Fenton)

432-2 Luska Lad (John Hanlon)

-31-u Majestic Concorde (Dermot Weld)

f5-3f Mikael D’Haguenet (FR) (Willie Mullins)

41-13 Mourad (Willie Mullins)

-0335 Oscar Dan Dan (Tom Mullins)

-11-1 Quevega (FR) (Willie Mullins)

13-25 Rigour Back Bob (Edward O’Grady)

1-8p2 Ringaroses (GB) (Jonjo O’Neill GB) 

 1-11 Sir Des Champs (FR) (Willie Mullins)

24-22 Son Amix (FR) (Tom Cooper)

f-15u The Hurl (Mouse Morris)

4-342 Thousand Stars (FR) (Willie Mullins)

pp-p7 Venalmar (GB) (Mouse Morris)

23-41 Voler La Vedette (Colm Murphy)

-4423 Won In The Dark (Sabrina Harty)



Ryanair Novice Steeplechase (Grade 1) €55,800.00 (2m – 5yo+)


Form Horse Trainer

11-25 Blazing Tempo (Willie Mullins)

2211 Captain Chris (Philip Hobbs GB)

f327- Cruising Katie (Richard Cotter)

1152 Ghizao (GER) (Paul Nicholls GB)

12-21 Noble Prince (GER) (Paul Nolan)

51-1p Osirixamix (Tony Martin)

61-ff Quel Esprit (FR) (Willie Mullins)

21-13 Realt Dubh (Noel Meade)

1f-51 Saludos (Jessica Harrington)

3220- Sweeps Hill (NZ) (John Kiely) 

0-213 Tawaagg (GB) (Willie Mullins)

213-3 Torphichen (GB) (Edward O’Grady)



Mick the Tent Memorial Nov Handicap Steeplechase (Grade A) €46,500.00 (2m 5f – 5yo+)


Form Horse Trainer

-2122 Ad Idem (GB) (Pauline Gavin)

60-10 Aigle D’Or (GB) (Nicky Henderson GB)

-2210 Arabella Boy (Enda Bolger)

8/-00 Ardalan (Paul Nolan)

2122- Armaramak (Edward O’Grady)

0-811 Aura About You (Paul Nolan)

/-524 Back Me Up (Christy Roche)

0-215 Baizically (John Hanlon)

2-80p Beau Michael (GB) (Ado McGuinness) 

11-25 Blazing Tempo (Willie Mullins)

f-127 Bob Lingo (Tom Mullins)

243f2 Burnt Oil Babe (William Murphy)

452-1 C’est Ca (GB) (Willie Mullins)

1f2-1 Carrigmartin (Edward Harty)

241u Cottage Acre (Tom George GB)

f327- Cruising Katie (Richard Cotter)

125-4 Darceys Dancer (Noel Meade)

33-3f Dr Whizz (Tom Mullins)

7-375 Elysian Rock (GB) (Mouse Morris)

21f-8 Erritt Lake (Dessie Hughes)

4313- Farringdon (GB) (Prunella Dobbs)

-554p For The Staff (Willie Mullins)

1-413 Gentle Alice (Daniel Murphy)

13-00 Glenstal Abbey (Charlie Swan)

12p-4 Gonebeyondrecall (Noel Glynn)

71-4f Hampshire Express (Willie Mullins)

-1f66 Hidden Crack (GB) (Seamus Fahey)

313-4 Kakagh (Bill Harney)

-u22f Killultagh Queen (Willie Mullins)

f-931 Kyle’s Turn(Eyssen Ross)

12-50 Lastoftheleaders (Arthur Moore)

22-41 Long Strand (Charlie Swan)

134-3 Loosen My Load (Henry de Bromhead)

1314 Mamlook (David Pipe GB)

01225 Montan (FR) (Tony Martin)

u47-8 More Chimney’s (Willie Austin)

2-22- Mr Syntax (Tim Fitzgerald)

1053- Norther Bay (FR) (Eoin Griffin)

4285 On Borrowed Wings (Alan Fleming GB)

u5-18 Parnell Street (John Berry)

27-9p Pay The Bounty (GB) (Robert Tyner)

5-014 Politeo (FR) (Paul Nolan)

-3433 Pontiac (FR) (Jessica Harrington)

1231 Pouvoir (FR) (Alan King GB)

1-251 Prince Erik (GB) (Dermot Weld)

18-39 Quadrillon (FR) (Willie Mullins)

7112 Quantitativeeasing (Nicky Henderson GB)

71-26 Questions Answered (Eric McNamara)

f111 Quotica De Poyans (FR) (Simon Shirley-Beavan GB)

5-u9p Rocco’s Hall (Edward O’Grady)

-31p3 Sam Adams (Paul Nolan)

44-74 Save My Blushes (GB) (Pat Flynn)

412-4 Sebadee (Ken Condon)

4421f Shirley Casper (Dessie Hughes)

3f10 Shoreacres (Brendan Powell GB)

35-15 Some Target (Willie Mullins)

1375 Swing Bill (FR) (David Pipe GB)

ff3-3 Taking Stock (John Kiely)

0-213 Tawaagg (GB) (Willie Mullins)

-2164 Tharawaat (Gordon Elliott)

f-15u The Hurl (Mouse Morris)

606ff The Real Tyson (Edward O’Grady)

0114- Thegreatjohnbrowne (Noel Meade)

213-3 Torphichen (GB) (Edward O’Grady)

3-611 Uncle Junior (Willie Mullins)

-1632 Uncle Tom Cobley (Conor O’Dwyer)

pp-p7 Venalmar (GB) (Mouse Morris)

1/-18 Warhead (FR) (Paul Nolan)

2u211 Wicklow Lad (GB) (Francis Flood)

2121 Wishfull Thinking (GB) (Phlip Hobbs GB)

6322- Your Busy (James Nash)



Rabobank Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) €96,000.00 (2m – 4yo+)


Form Horse Trainer

p1-16 Alaivan (Edward O’Grady)

3114 Binocular (FR) (Nicky Henderson GB)

15-27 Blackstairmountain (Willie Mullins)

1446 Clerk’s Choice (Michael Banks GB)

139-2 Donnas Palm (Noel Meade)

36-18 Dunguib (Philip Fenton)

911-3 Gimli’s Rock (Jessica Harrington)

11-11 Hurricane Fly (Willie Mullins)

432-2 Luska Lad (John Hanlon)

2115 Menorah (Philip Hobbs GB)

2110 Mille Chief (FR) (Alan King GB)

1257 Overturn (Donald McCain GB)

-11-1 Quevega (FR) (Willie Mullins)

3134 Starluck (Alan Fleming GB) 

4-342 Thousand Stars (FR) (Willie Mullins)

23-41 Voler La Vedette (Colm Murphy)




Cathal Ryan Memorial Champion Nov Hurdle (Grade 1) €49,600.00 (2m 4f – 4yo+)


Form Horse Trainer

1123- Ballyadam Brook (Terence O’Brien) 

-5114 Bishopsfurze (Willie Mullins)

1f1 Bog Warrior (Tony Martin)

6-111 Canaly (Dessie Hughes)

7-891 Far Away So Close (Paul Nolan)

131-1 First Lieutenant (Mouse Morris)

2331- Frisco Depot (GB) (Dessie Hughes)

1-11p Gagewell Flyer (Willie Mullins)

-2212 Gift Of Dgab (Tony Martin)

f244 Global Power (Oliver Sherwood GB) 

1-011 Golden Sunbird (Paul Nolan)

52-33 He’s Our Man (Oliver Brady)

1-11 Last Instalment (Philip Fenton)

313-2 Mackeys Forge (Dessie Hughes)

11-14 Oscars Well (Jessica Harrington)

-11p- Otterstown Lady (Cathy O’Leary)

111-1 Our Girl Salley (Prunella Dobbs)

134-6 Perfect Smile (Noel Meade)

12-32 Pineau De Re (FR) (Philip Fenton)

f1-72 Prima Vista (GB) (Noel Meade)

-77-1 Raptor (FR) (Willie Mullins) 

3-216 Rathlin (GB) (Philip Rothwell)

f1 Realt Mor (Nicky Richards GB)

21-f2 Royal De La Thinte (FR) (Jim Dreaper)

1-13 So Young (FR) (Willie Mullins)

33-11 Spirit Of Adjisa (Tim Vaughan GB) 

111-3 The Real Article (Edward O’Grady)

1-236 Tornedo Shay (Thomond O’Mara)

0-21p Westmeath (GB) (Paul Nolan)

12-27 Zaidpour (FR) (Willie Mullins)



AES Champion 4yo Hurdle (Grade 1) €49,600.00 (2m – 4yo)


Form Horse Trainer

5 Birzali (FR) (Colm Murphy)

3-342 Chaperoned (Jessica Harrington)

4-21 Devils Bit (John O’Shea)

312 Empire Levant (USA) (Paul Nicholls GB)

2-234 Fearless Falcon (Ado McGuinness) 

p4-1 Gamede (FR) (Liz Doyle) 

113b Grandouet (FR) (Nicky Henderson GB)

25-8 Kalann (Sabrina Harty) 

3322 Kumbeshwar (GB) (Alan King GB)

8316 Launchpad (GB)(Dessie Hughes)

20 Maxim Gorky (Noel Meade)

1-4u Mister Carter(Tommy Stack)

5513 Pullyourfingerout (Brendan Powell GB)

13 Rigidity (GB) (Edward O’Grady)

f3 Rocky Wednesday (Gordon Elliott)

41-26 Sailors Warn (Edward O’Grady)

2271 Third Intention

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