Mullins confirms Nichols Canyon in line for Nashville bonus bid
Nichols Canyon, winner of the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, will bid for a $500,000 bonus by running in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois Hurdle Stakes at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tennessee on May 13.
Owned by Andrea and Graham Wylie, Nichols Canyon finished third behind Rawnaq and stablemate Shaneshill in the 3m Grade 1 last year.
Since then, he enjoyed the finest hour of his career by winning the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham before claiming second in the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown last month.
The $500,000 bonus, initiated in 2015, is available to any horse who wins the Stayers' Hurdle and Nashville contest within 12 months, but Rawnaq's Cheltenham raid this spring was derailed by injury.
"The intention is for Nichols Canyon to go for the Iroquois," said trainer Willie Mullins, whose contender is likely to be ridden by stable jockey Ruby Walsh.
"He seems fine after his run at Punchestown on Thursday and plans are fairly advanced for taking him out to America - we'll just give him a quiet few days at home. I imagine Ruby would ride.
"It was a good experience last year and they had a lot of water on the track so we are happy enough to travel back again.
"The prize-money is good but we are in line for the bonus so it would make the trip even better if we could win that!"