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Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

Elliott holds a strong hand in Punchestown's €100,000 National Trial

Monbeg Notorious: the Thyestes Chase winner will run in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse
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Gordon Elliott expects to be well represented in Sunday’s BoyleSports Grand National Trial Handicap Chase at Punchestown, which boasts a prize fund of €100,000 for the first time – double its worth in 2017.

Elliott said recent Thyestes Chase winner Monbeg Notorious is a possible runner, while he could saddle Mossback, a final-fence faller in a Grade 3 novice chase at Naas when last seen, along with Woods Well, Space Cadet, Out Sam and the 2014 winner Folsom Blue.

Monbeg Notorious and Folsom Blue head the betting at 6-1, and speaking on Tuesday the trainer said: “We've left six in the race and Monbeg Notorious would be a possible runner.

“He hasn’t done much since his win at Gowran Park but seems to be in good form and is a horse with options.

“We’ll see how he is later in the week but the trip and ground would suit him at Punchestown, and it’s a very nice prize. I’d expect that we’ll be well represented.”

Fresh from sending out seven winners across the two-day Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown, Willie Mullins will be bidding to record another big payday in a race he has won with Some Target [2011] and Hedgehunter [2003].

The champion trainer has entered Childrens List, Pleasant Company and Isleofhopendreams.

Pleasant Company: a possible for the Grand National Trial

Baie Des Iles won the contest 12 months ago and is on course to compete for back-to-back successes, according to her handler Ross O'Sullivan.

He said: “She’s in very good form and I’m happy with her. She won the race last year and conditions look like being very similar so I’m looking forward to it.

“It was a €50,000 race last year and it's worth €100,000 now so it looks set to be a tougher assignment, but she had a nice run at Limerick over the Christmas over a trip shorter than ideal and seems to love Punchestown as she's won twice there now.”

Galway trainer Pat Kelly has decided against running leading RSA Chase hope Presenting Percy and could instead rely on Mall Dini, who has been priced up at 10-1 by the firm.

Meanwhile, Mullins has entered his promising mares Benie Des Dieux and Asthuria in the Listed Opera Hat Mares' Steeplechase at Naas on Saturday, while Elliott could be represented by the talented Dinaria Des Obeaux.

Punchestown entries

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It was a €50,000 race last year and it's worth €100,000 now so it looks set to be a tougher assignment
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