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Classy stayers set to do battle in competitive affair at Punchestown

Nichols Canyon (left) crosses the final flight in the Stayers' Hurdle before seeing off Lil Rockerfeller (centre) and Unowhatimeanharry (right)
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We have reached the halfway point in the Punchestown festival and the action is not letting up. Here are the key things to look out for on the third day of the meeting

Can't Touche this

Enda Bolger knows what it take to win the La Touche Cup (4.50). He won it as a rider and has saddled the winner 13 times, most recently with Quantitativeeasing in 2016.

The banks at Punchestown seem to bring out the best in his runners year in, year out and he saddles Cantlow and Love Rory in the La Touche Cup this time around. The class act in the race is First Lieutenant, a multiple Grade 1-winner, although his last success came at Aintree in 2013.



Let's have 'em Harry

Unowhatimeanharry went into the Cheltenham Festival as one of the bankers of the meeting but was defeated in the Stayers' Hurdle. Nichols Canyon won that day from Lil Rockerfeller and both line up again against Unowhatimeanharry in the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle (5.30), along with a number of other classy individuals.

These include Sutton Place, who has won his last five races, One Track Mind, a Grade 1 winner at Punchestown last season, and the remarkable Clondaw Warrior.

Unowhatimeanharry: bids to get back on track after Cheltenham defeat

Ryanair could be key for Mullins

Willie Mullins needs all the money he can get this week if he is to regain his Irish trainers' title and the Ryanair Novice Chase (6.40) could be a key race.

Great Field heads his three runners, alongside Listen Dear and Townsend – a 33-1 shot ridden by Ruby Walsh – in a race Mullins has won three times in the last four years.

Should Great Field fail, and he is not the most solid of jumpers, the likes of Ball D'Arc will be poised to pick up the pieces.

An unfamiliar sight

Lurking down at the bottom of the field for the Mares Novice Hurdle (7.15) is Ringside Humour, a five-year-old mare trained by none other than Derby-winning trainer Jim Bolger.

Bolger, trainer of the likes of Teofilo, St Jovite, Finsceal Beo, New Approach, Dawn Approach, Alexander Goldrun and many more, has not had a runner over jumps in Ireland since November 2014.

Ringside Humour has won eight times on the Flat and twice been tried at stakes level. Her presence in this race is most fascinating.

She has won eight times on the Flat and twice been tried at stakes level. Her presence in this race is most fascinating
E.W. Terms