Townend sticks with Uradel as Mullins runs ten in €100,000 handicap hurdle
Rybo Handicap Hurdle (Grade A) | 2m | 4yo+ | ATR
Uradel leads a ten-strong assault by Willie Mullins on this €100,000 event, the richest prize on a seven-race card originally scheduled for April 3 before the weather intervened.
Mullins is going all-out to try to peg back Gordon Elliott in the trainers' championship which ends at Punchestown a week on Saturday and, speaking on Monday, the defending champion said: "Paul [Townend] picked Uradel when the race was due to be run and I suppose it's significant he's sticking with him.
"Uradel surprised me when he won easily at Naas in February as he had been off a long time. This will be his first handicap and he appears to be in good form."
The Mullins squad also includes Meri Devie, Abbyssial, Voix Due Reve and Pravaluguna, who all failed to trouble the judge at the Cheltenham Festival and Nessum Dorma, Orion D'aubrelle and True Self who like Uradel will be running in a handicap for the first time.
"The horses who ran at Cheltenham seem to be in good form but you never know until you run them again what effect their runs at the festival might have had," said Mullins. "It's a big pot and we're hoping to get a share of it."
Duca De Thaix heads Elliott's four-strong team
Gordon Elliott runs four with Davy Russell partnering Duca De Thaix, who finished in rear in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham last month. He said on Monday: "Duca De Thaix was way too keen at Cheltenham and if he settles better this time he'll have a good chance.
"Yaha Fizz, who will be having his first run for us, is in good form and has been working well. Morgan is coming back from a break and while he has snippets of good form he's probably plenty high in the weights while Destin D'ajonc, who is wearing a tongue-tie for the first time, is in good order but finds the trip on the short side."
First-time blinkers for Landofhopeandglory
Joseph O'Brien is represented by Landofhopeandglory, twice a course-and-distance winner last season and now reverting from fences in first-time blinkers, and Tigris River, last year's Galway Hurdle winner who was pulled up in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham.
"Landofhopeandglory has been in good form at home and the blinkers are on to help sharpen him for his return to hurdling," said O'Brien. "Tigris River was disappointing at Cheltenham but he seems in good form, so we're hoping for better from him."
Read The Briefing from 8.30am daily on racingpost.com with all the day's latest going, weather, market moves and non-runner news