Sous searching for long-awaited return to the winner's enclosure
20 Year Celebration Dowling Security Hurdle | 2m4f | 4yo+ | ATR
Since recording his greatest day on a racecourse when winning the Ascot Stakes in terrific fashion back in 2014, Pique Sous has yet to return to the winner's enclosure but Willie Mullins believes the Supreme Racing Syndicate-owned gelding has plenty going for him on Friday evening.
Top weight Rashaan ran a perplexing race in the Grimes Hurdle last week but will be bidding to put that run behind him with an improved performance for Colin Kidd and Sean Flanagan.
Gordon Elliott is represented by Jeannot De Nonant and Vukovar, while Jessica Harrington's Walk To Freedom makes his return from a 470-day absence.
The field is made up by The Black Russian, trained by Galway native Fergus Hanley, who is charting a path towards Ballybrit for his 11-year-old.
Willie's on a hat-trick
Champion trainer Willie Mullins is chasing his third win on the trot in this race having landing the previous two renewals with Alelchi Inois and Simenon respectively.
What they say
Colin Kidd, trainer of Rashaan
He was bitterly disappointing in the Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary just eight days ago, but our vet has examined him since and we're inclined to just put it down as an off day as we could find nothing to explain why he ran so poorly. If you go back through his form, he seldom runs well going left-handed and I'd say that Tipperary might've been plenty sharp for him. He hasn't shown us any reason not to run him and, if he was to return to the form of his Down Royal win last month, I think he'd have a big chance.
Willie Mullins, trainer of Pique Sous
He hasn’t run since Punchestown but he's in very good form and we're hoping for a big run from him. The ground should suit him very well and he'll like the track.
Fergus Hanley, trainer of The Black Russian
He's getting better with age, a bit like myself at this stage. This is his first start of the season and the plan would be to send him back over fences for the Galway festival. If he doesn’t get into any of the chases at Galway, there's a hurdle race there on the Wednesday that we might run him in instead. He normally takes a run or two to get going so I'm just hoping for the best today.