Buildmeupbuttercup and Harrie aim to give Willie Mullins yet another victory in the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday.

Willie Mullins has dominated the (Grade 2) Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle in the last decade, winning seven of the last 10 renewals, and looks to score once again with Buildmeupbuttercup and Harrie on Sunday.

It is worthwhile noting that three of the Mullins-trained scoreres in this Punchestown contest – Mikael D’Haguenet (2009), Vautour (2014) and Douvan (2015) – went on to victories at the Cheltenham Festival on their very next appearance, while 2016 winner Min found only Timeform’s Top Rated Chaser Altior too strong in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

Mullins said: “Harrie is coming back in distance having won at Tramore over two miles and five furlongs and this is a different grade of race, but I think he will be more suited by this sort of trip.

“This will be his first run on good ground so we are not sure about how he’ll handle it, but we’ve been happy with him since Tramore.

Buildmeupbuttercup ran very well in Navan on her debut over hurdles. She should have no problem with the trip or the ground.

Ruby Walsh has seemingly sided with Harrie, leaving Paul Townend to take the ride on Buildmeupbuttercup, who was a dual bumper winner in Britain for Mick Channon before joining the Irish champion trainer.

Mullins added: “Both Buildmeupbuttercup and Harrie do lack experience over hurdles, but that has been a narrative of the whole season with horses having to just run when they can, and it is probably the same for a lot of horses.”

Gordon Elliott did not declare ante-post favourite Commander Of Fleet, but still has two chances, with Felix Desjy (Davy Russell) and Swordsman (Jack Kennedy) both in contention.

Felix Desjy was a high-class bumper performer last season and bolted up on his hurdling debut at Galway in October, but has been beaten on his three most recent outings.

Elliott said: “Things haven’t worked out for him since he won his maiden hurdle at Galway, but I thought his last run in Limerick was more encouraging and there is more to come from him over hurdles.”

Henry de Bromhead’s Jan Maat is a third runner for Gigginstown House Stud, while Jessica Harrington’s Jetez completes a six-strong field.

The latter was last seen winning at handicap at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival.

“We were very pleased with him getting back to winning ways at Leopardstown last time,” said Harrington.

Jetez might not be a Grade One horse yet, but he is going in that direction.”


Find out more ahead of Sunday’s (Grade 2) Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown here


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