Killultagh Vic bids to end bad run of luck for Mullins as he returns to action
Free Festival Upgrade Ticket Offer Hurdle | 2m4f | 4yo+ | ATR
Killultagh Vic, absent since January 2016 when somehow winning a Grade 2 novice chase at Leopardstown after all but coming down at the last under Ruby Walsh, will make his eagerly awaited return in the feature 2m4f hurdle at Punchestown.
Winner of the 2015 Martin Pipe Conditional Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham before brushing Thistlecrack aside in a Grade 1 novice hurdle at the Punchestown festival in the same season, Killultagh Vic is reported to be in good form by Willie Mullins ahead of his return.
Mullins said: “He hasn't run since winning a Grade 2 novice chase at Leopardstown almost two years ago and it's great to have him back in action.
“He's been working very well and doing everything right at home and we thought this would be a better race in which to bring him back rather than running him at Grade 1 level at Leopardstown earlier this week.
“He has some very good form over hurdles, including winning the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham and a three mile Grade 1 novice at the Punchestown festival when he beat Thistlecrack. The conditions of the race suit him well.”
Also on the comeback trail is Oliver McKiernan’s pair, Whatever Jacksays, off the track for a massive 1911 days, and Lean Araig, out of action for 1043 days.
McKiernan said of the pair: "Both horses were promising at one stage but they've had a bit of injury trouble. They seem to be working well now, which is why we've persevered, so we’ll know more after this."
After a dream Christmas, Gordon Elliott will be hoping the stable’s good run of form continues with Diamond King.
The nine-year-old recorded his finest moment on a racetrack when winning the 2016 Coral Cup at Cheltenham but hasn’t been as good over fences since.
Elliott is expecting a good showing from the gelding on his seasonal return, and said: “He's in very good form and we're happy with him ahead of his return. Whatever he does, we think he'll improve from it but there's no reason why he can't run a big race.”
In contrast to those on the comeback trail, Ellmarie Holden's star inmate Ex Patriot will be racing off the back of a St Stephen's Day victory achieved in the mud at Limerick and rates as an obvious danger with match practice on his side.
Joseph O’Brien’s Ivanovich Gorbatov, winner of the 2016 Triumph Hurdle, and this year's Galway Hurdle winner Tigris River add to the allure of the nine-runner contest.
Look back on the best jumps action of the year in the new edition of the Racing Post Annual. Order now at racingpost.com/shop