Canyon heads Mullins team in absence of Annie, Faugheen and Mag
Nichols Canyon will spearhead trainer Willie Mullins' bid to land a sixth consecutive Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday, with Annie Power, Faugheen and Vroum Vroum Mag not declared on Friday.
"Faugheen has a bruised foot and it hasn't come right in time for him to run this weekend and we'll have to wait a bit longer before starting him off," explained Mullins.
"Annie Power worked moderately a couple of times during the week. She has worked disappointingly in the past but when she did it twice we decided there was no point in declaring her. We'll wait and see what sort of form she's in this coming week before making a plan for her first race of the season.
"Vroum Vroum Mag was another possibility for the race and she did a fantastic piece of work during the week. But she didn't eat up after it and we thought it prudent to give it a miss. She'll have plenty of options once we're happy with her."
The 2015 Champion Hurdle hero Faugheen suffered a shock defeat at the hands of his stablemate in this contest 12 months ago and had been in line for a first start since January.
But, like fellow stars Annie Power and Vroum Vroum Mag, Faugheen was not among the five declarations taken for the race, with Nichols Canyon joined by stablemates Simenon ad Sempre Medici in the final line-up.
Last season's Triumph Hurdle hero Ivanovich Gorbatov will also head to Punchestown for Joseph O'Brien, along with fellow Grade 1 winner Jer's Girl.