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Monksland ready to notch fifth hurdles win now dropped in class

Monksland (right): comes here on the back of a sixth-place finish in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle
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1.20 Punchestown
Free Festival Upgrade Ticket Offer Hurdle | 4yo+ | 2m4f | ATR

Monksland, who reverted from fences to contest the Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse on his most recent start, drops in class in this six-runner conditions event as he bids for a fifth win over hurdles.

He beat only one home in the Fairyhouse event but this looks an easier task for the nine-year-old, whose trainer Noel Meade said yesterday: “Monksland is in good form and this looked a suitable race for him. We’re hoping he runs well.”

A three-time winner at Grade 2 level over two miles to three miles, Monksland is best treated by the race conditions.

His rivals include the Willie Mullins-trained Sure Reef, who will be making his first appearance since landing a Grade 2 event over today’s trip as a novice at Leopardstown in January 2014.

My Murphy, winner of the Thyestes Chase last season, will be having his first run over hurdles since the 2012 festival meeting at this track. His trainer Liam Burke said yesterday: "We're heading back for another tilt at the Thyestes and this is the only suitable race in which to get a run into him.

"He ran a stinker in the Paddy Power at Leopardstown last year, so we avoided going there this time. We're hoping he runs well and that he'll improve before Gowran."

Supasundae will be making a quick reappearance having finished eighth in a 2m handicap at Leopardstown on Tuesday on his first start of the season and his first for Jessica Harrington.

Tycoon Prince, who won his maiden hurdle over 2m at today’s course last season, represents the Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown House Stud alliance and also makes his seasonal reappearance today.

"He's in good enough form but will definitely improve for the run," Elliott said.

Completing the line-up is the JP McManus-owned Le Curieux who will be having his first run for John Kiely having previously been trained in France.

We’re heading back for another tilt at the Thyestes and this is the only suitable race in which to get a run into him

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