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Fred Winter winner Flaxen Flare back after 689-day absence

Gordon Elliott: is bidding for another big payday at Punchestown
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3.30 Cork 
UCC Horse Racing Society Hurdle | 2m | ATR

Gordon Elliott brought Third Opinion back from 680 days off the track to win at Clonmel on Tuesday but can he repeat the dose with former Fred Winter winner Flaxen Flare who is returning from nine days more on the sidelines?

Not since the fourth day of May in 2015 have we seen Flaxen Flare but he did leave a winning goodbye note. He posted a four-length success on his first start over fences and it looked as though a bright career over the larger obstacles might well have been ahead. But problems persisted with the son of Windsor Knot and today will only be his second start since September 2014. He is on a hat-trick following that aforementioned victory at Down Royal and a win over hurdles at Galway.

Elliott said: “He has been off for a long, long time and it is great to have him back on the track. He has been a great servant to us over the years and did us proud when winning the Fred Winter a few years ago. While it is good to have him back I would stress anything he does today he will improve upon. He is likely to need the run."

The likely favourite is Bonbon Au Miel from the Willie Mullins stable who represents Graham Wylie, who enjoyed such a terrific Thursday last week with Yorkhill landing the JLT and Nichols Canyon continuing his fine record in the Stayers Hurdle.

Bonbon Au Miel is a French import whose Irish debut at Leopardstown earlier this month was jam-packed full of promise as he only found the gutsy veteran Hidden Cyclone too good in the closing stages. If he reproduces that effort it ought to be good enough.

"I was thrilled with Bonbon Au Miel at Leopardstown. That was a nice start for us and I am hoping he has improved since. He should have no problem with the ground and he seems in good form at home so I am hoping for a good run from him," Mullins said.

The presence of the Robert Tyner-trained Gurteen, who beat De Plotting Shed in a bumper and chased home Min in a maiden hurdle hurdle at Punchestown earlier on in his career, makes things interesting as he is very good on his day

The consistent Oiche Mhaith Boy, Lilshane and Head Turner complete the six-strong field. 

While it is good to have him back I would stress anything he does today he will improve upon. He is likely to need the run
E.W. Terms