View from connections ahead of Wednesday's Betdaq Exchange Champion INH Flat Race
Last Updated: 23/04/13 2:51pm
Briar Hill: Puts his reputation on the line
Briar Hill bids to become the third Willie Mullins-trained horse to win both Cheltenham and Punchestown bumpers when he takes on 11 rivals in the Betdaq Exchange Champion INH Flat Race at the Irish track on Wednesday.
Cousin Vinny (2008) and Champagne Fever last year have completed the double for the County Carlow stable and now Briar Hill puts his reputation on the line.
Surprisingly, Briar Hill was allowed to start at 25-1 for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper despite being ridden by stable jockey Ruby Walsh at Cheltenham. He came home seven lengths clear of Regal Encore in the colours of Andrea and Graham Wylie and is sure to go off at much shorter odds this time.
"Briar Hill doesn't show you his true ability at home, but he was good at Cheltenham and hopefully he can reproduce that back on the track," said Mullins.
Briar Hill is joined by two stablemates, Sizing Tennessee, who was well beaten at Cheltenham and Outlander, who is unbeaten in three bumpers. "Outlander has done nothing wrong all year and certainly deserves his crack at this race," said the trainer.
"Sizing Tennessee is a lot better than he showed at Cheltenham and I'm hoping that he can rediscover his best Irish form. I think the ground will be fine for all of them, although if it dried out too much that would probably be against Outlander."
The Liquidator is the only English-trained raider and David Pipe's charge takes his chance after finishing fourth to Briar Hill at Cheltenham.
"Obviously he ran a very good race at Cheltenham and has come out of it fine, so we deserve to take our chance," said the Nicholashayne handler. "He'll be a lovely hurdler for next season."
Tom Nagle is optimistic of a good show from The Mighty Milan, who returned from a 11-month absence to win at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday.
The six-year-old also has form over the course and distance, winning at the County Kildare venue in January 2012.
"We've been happy with him since he ran the last day. Everything has gone well, so it's fingers crossed," said the County Cork trainer.
"He'd have been fit enough for that run back, but hopefully he will have improved a little since. His form is good and he has improved a fair bit since last year. He should go well."