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Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Yorkhill on target for Grade 1 prize at Fairyhouse on Sunday

Yorkhill: unbeaten at the Cheltenham Festival and could be a Gold Cup contender in 2018
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Willie Mullins will play one of his trump cards on Sunday as he attempts to erode Gordon Elliott's €362,230 lead in the trainers' championship, with the reigning champion confirming Cheltenham Festival winner Yorkhill will run in the Ryanair Gold Cup.

The impressive JLT Novices' Chase winner is set to contest the feature event on day one of the Fairyhouse Easter festival on Sunday – for which the first-place prize-money is €59,000.

"Yorkhill came out of Cheltenham in good form and the plan is to run him on Sunday," Mullins said on Tuesday.

The Andrea and Graham Wylie-owned seven-year-old is unbeaten in three starts over fences and will be bidding to give Mullins a first win in the 2m4f Grade 1 novice chase for which 11 horses are left in following yesterday's forfeit stage.

Race sponsor Michael O'Leary owns six of his potential rivals in the race including the Noel Meade-trained pair, Road To Respect, winner of the Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable Plate at Cheltenham, and Disko who finished third in the JLT Novices Chase, four lengths behind Yorkhill.

Meade said on Tuesday: "We left both horses in. Road To Respect is the intended runner. Disko was left in as a precaution but he will probably wait for the Punchestown festival."

The other Gigginstown House Stud-owned possibles for the race are the Gordon Elliott-trained duo, A Toi Phil and Ball D'Arc and the Henry de Bromhead-trained pair, Attribution and Balko Des Flos.

The ground at Fairyhouse on Tuesday had dried slightly from Monday and was described as "good to yielding from good to yielding, yielding in places", by racecourse manager Peter Roe. The forecast shows mixed weather over the next few days.

O'Brien hoping supplementary entry can pay off

Colin's Sister, the mare who is unbeaten in four runs over hurdles this season but missed the Cheltenham Festival, will bid to win her first Grade 1 at Fairyhouse on Sunday after connections shelled out €10,000 to supplement her for the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle.

Trained by Fergal O'Brien for owner-breeder Caroline Beresford-Wylie, Colin's Sister was last seen winning a Grade 2 at Sandown in February.

Colin's Sister: sole English challenger would be suited by rain

O'Brien, enjoying his best season, said on Tuesday: "She only missed Cheltenham because of a bit of an overreach and she's come sound so we'll go to Fairyhouse.

"This will suit her much better than Cheltenham, so fingers crossed. She's been very good at home and we worked her this morning before we had to do the entry. We'll give it a go and take our chance.

"She's done nothing but progress all season and has won a Listed hurdle and Grade 2. She'd like heavy ground and hopefully it's going to rain on Friday."

Colin's Sister could face Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle winner Let's Dance – one of six possibles in the 2m4f contest for champion trainer Willie Mullins – while fellow British raiders Lastbutnotleast and Pearl Royale have been left in by Donald McCain and Nigel Hawke.

Yorkhill came out of Cheltenham in good form and the plan is to run him on Sunday
E.W. Terms
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