Uradel could prove the pick of eight-strong Mulllins challenge
Rybo Handicap Hurdle | Grade A | 2m | 4yo+ | RTE2/ATR
Willie Mullins, who has sent out four of the last six winners of this valuable event, most recently with Thomas Hobson a year ago, launches an eight-strong attack on Tuesday's race with five of his team having run at Cheltenham last month.
None of the quintet – Abbyssial, Voix Du Reve, Max Dynamite, Meri Devie and Pravalaguna – performed with distinction at the festival and they are joined in the line-up by Uradel, who will be making his handicap debut, Karalee and Orion D'aubrelle.
Mullins said on Monday: "Things didn't work out for the few who ran at Cheltenham but Abbyssial and Voix Du Reve will love the heavy ground, whereas the conditions will be far from ideal for Max Dynamite.
"There's a good handicap like this in Meri Devie if she produces what she is capable of and, while Pravalaguna disappointed at Cheltenham, she's a good bit better than she ran there."
Paul Townend has picked Uradel, who will be running in his first handicap, and Mullins takes that as a clue.
He added: "It's probably significant that Paul has gone for Uradel, who surprised me by the way he won a novice at Naas last time. He had been off since last summer and I thought he'd need the run but he won by seven lengths.
"He's in good form and will be going to the race fresh, so he should go well.
"Karalee shows a lot more at home than she does on the track, but her last two runs were quite good and she's capable of a good run."
Better expected from Duca
The ongoing battle between Mullins and Gordon Elliott sees the latter go into this event four-handed, with Davy Russell partnering Duca De Thaix.
Elliott said: "Duca De Thaix raced too keenly at Cheltenham last time and we're expecting better.
"Veinard ran second in the race last year and is in good order, but the very testing ground won't help him.
"Destin D'ajonc is well but might need a longer trip, while Morgan
has a chance if he runs to his best."
Donc the best of Meade's pair
Noel Meade, whose horses have been in good form in recent days, is two-handed with Joey Sasa, who is returning from a break, and Dis Donc.
"Dis Donc had been running well lately and will like the ground. He's in good form and so is Joey Sasa, for whom the ground probably won't be ideal," Meade said.
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