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Ferny Hollow and Kilcruit set for eagerly awaited returns on a Sunday to savour

Ferny Hollow beats Appreciate It to win at the Cheltenham Festival in 2020. He makes his chase debut at Punchestown on Sunday
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It's certainly not all about Allaho and Energumene for the Willie Mullins team on Sunday. The rain has arrived and a flood of class acts from Closutton are coming out to play.

It is hard to believe any horse in training has the distinction of beating both Bob Olinger and Appreciate It, but Ferny Hollow has already achieved that remarkable feat and the 2020 Champion Bumper winner makes his debut over fences in the BetVictor Beginners Chase (2.35) at Punchestown.

Ferny Hollow is a best-priced 7-1 for the Arkle, with only stablemate Appreciate It shorter in the market.

Mullins is looking forward to his return from a 380-day absence, and said: "Ferny Hollow lacks a lot of racing experience, but he comes here with big credentials having beaten Bob Olinger in his maiden hurdle last year. He jumps well, his point-to-point experience will stand him in good stead and, on the face of it, he looks a nice horse to ride. He's working well enough."

There is sure to be a shake-up in the Supreme Novices' market as long-time ante-post favourite Kilcruit and the unbeaten Dysart Dynamo run in different divisions of the 2m maiden hurdle at Cork. Both are trained by the master of Closutton.

Mullins said of Kilcruit, who runs in division one (12.10): "He jumps well at home. There's plenty of rain down there which I think will be to his advantage and I'm looking forward to a good run from him."

Kilcruit (right) fails to reel in Sir Gerhard in last season's Champion Bumper. He makes his debut over obstacles at Cork

On Dysart Dynamo, who goes at 12.40, he said: "He has done nothing wrong and been very impressive in his two bumpers. He's another who jumps well enough and he should give a really good account of himself. It could be a nice starting point for him."

Kilcruit was relieved of his position at the top of the Supreme market by Jonbon last Friday week, but he remains no bigger than 4-1 and could shorten if impressing. Dysart Dynamo is a general 16-1 shot for the festival opener.

Elsewhere at Cork, the Grade 2 O'Flynn Group Irish EBF Mares Novice Chase (1.45) was won by Mount Ida last year on her way to a remarkable success in the Kim Muir at the festival, and this year's race looks red-hot with Concertista, a 12-length winner of the Mares' Novice Hurdle at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, set to make her chase debut.

Mullins said: "If Concertista, who jumps very well at home, can get over her lack of experience, she could give everything in the race a run for their money."

The champion trainer was not ruling out a bold showing from stablemate Robinnia either, saying: "I thought she was very unlucky on her last run at Galway and that form puts her in this with a great chance."

His other representative in the race is Dolcita, who chased home Concertista in that Mares' Novice at Cheltenham. Mullins said: "Dolcita's hurdle rating also puts her in here with a chance. She does jump very well, too."


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He has done nothing wrong and been very impressive in his two bumpers
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