Elliott playing the numbers game with eight of the 14 Moscow Flyer entries
Gordon Elliott is playing the numbers game as he bids to break Willie Mullins' stranglehold on the Grade 2 Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday.
Mullins has won seven of the last ten runnings, including five of the last six, but he is likely to face a strong challenge from Elliott, who is responsible for eight of the 14 entries.
All eight of Elliott’s entries are owned by Gigginstown House Stud, who may also be represented by the Henry de Bromhead-trained Jan Maat.
Speaking about his team, which features Commander Of Fleet, a late absentee from Sunday’s Grade 1 at Naas, Elliott said: "We’ve made plenty of entries for Sunday’s race and we’ll just see how things go later in the week.
"It was a pity Commander Of Fleet had to miss the Grade 1 at Naas on Sunday, but I’m looking forward to getting him back to the track and he could easily go to Punchestown this weekend.”
Elliott added: "I’d say we’ll definitely run a couple in the race and Felix Desjy is another that could go there. Things haven’t worked out for him since he won his maiden hurdle at Galway, but I thought his last run at Limerick was more encouraging and there is more to come from him over hurdles."
Mikael D'Haguenet, Vautour and Douvan took this prize for Willie Mullins before going on to win at the Cheltenham Festival and the champion trainer has handed entries to Buildmeupbuttercup, a winner of her only start over flights for the team, recent Tramore winner Harrie, and the fragile-but-talented Prince D'Aubrelle, who hasn't raced since landing a Tipperary maiden hurdle in May.
Meanwhile, Jessica Harrington could be represented by Press Conference and Jetez. She said: "Press Conference is in terrific form since his win at Limerick and I would love to run him, but I'm just waiting for some rain to arrive."
"Jetez will definitely run. We were very pleased with him getting back to winning ways at Leopardstown last time. He might not be a Grade 1 horse yet but he is going in that direction."
Buildmeupbuttercup is the 4-1 favourite with the sponsors.
Castlegrace Paddy an unlikely runner
Saturday's €100,000 BetVictor Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase provides the biggest pot on offer in Ireland this weekend, but Pat Fahy has indicated his topweight Castlegrace Paddy is unlikely to run.
"I left him in there but I don't think he'll run," Fahy said. "I'll have to have a chat with the owners, but I'd imagine we'll keep him for the two-mile Grade 1 at Leopardstown next month and hopefully he'll get his ground there.
One horse who will definitely line up is Ted Walsh's Kildorrery, reported to be in rude health by the trainer.
"He's a definite runner. He's fit and well and we're happy. The ground should suit so hopefully he can run well," Walsh said.
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