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2019 Moscow Flyer Novices' Hurdle tips - Mullins' 3/1 chance can Harrie to Grade Two success at Punchestown

Brian Healy 12 Jan 2019
Willie Mullins can win another Moscow Flyer Novices' Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday.

Brian Healy takes a runner-by-runner look ahead to Sunday's Grade Two feature race at Punchestown.

The Grade Two Moscow Flyer Novices’ Hurdle is the feature race of Sunday’s racecard at Punchestown, and a competitive contest over two miles awaits punters despite a relatively small field of just six runners going to post.

Getting underway from 2.50pm, the two-mile race boasts a first prize pot in excess of €25,000, and some notable names have captured this contest enroute to better things with the likes of Getabird, Min, Douvan and Vautour all taking top honours in the race in recent years.

Willie Mullins has adopted something of a stranglehold on this race, winning seven of the last ten renewals of this Grade Two prize, and the Closutton trainer is doubly-represented as he bids to add another win to the record.

The County Carlow maestro saddles both Buildmeupbuttercup (10/3, William Hill) and Harrie, and the former arrives having posted an impressive debut success for this yard at Navan in December when running out a narrow winner over Dancing On My Own.

A useful performer in bumpers and on the flat for Mick Channon prior to joining the Mullins camp, the Sixties Icon mare was value for more than the half-length success last time out, and she is sure to have more to offer in this discipline.

The third horse home from that debut success has since franked the form by winning subsequently, and in receipt of the mares’ allowance it isn’t hard to imagine her running a big race.

HARRIE (3/1, Coral) however, could prove the pick of the Mullins pair, and the Le Havre gelding was an impressive scorer at Tramore on his hurdles debut last month, readily beating Buck’s Billionaire by a half-length.

The choice of Ruby Walsh from the Mullins pair, the seven-year old was useful in France prior to joining forces with the Willie Mullins camp, and she looked a very smart prospect in that debut success where she travelled and jumped well throughout; and she was idling in front but always doing enough to hold off the runner-up with the pair clear of the field.

The third horse home won next time to give the form a boost, and while this is a drop back in trip for the Le Havre gelding, the way he travelled through the race latest suggested he’ll have little issue dropping back in distance.

The better ground here is an unknown, with that win last time coming on heavy ground; but if handling the quicker conditions then he could go close.


Ruby Walsh can steer Harrie to success in Sunday's Moscow Flyer Novices' Hurdle.
Felix Desjy (6/1, Bet365) is one of three runners in the race to sport the Gigginstown colours, and the Maresca Sorrento gelding is one of two to be trained by Gordon Elliott.

A dual-bumper winner last term, which includes here, he acquitted himself well in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, and also here behind Tornado Flyer when contesting a Grade One bumper at this track in April.

He got off the mark over hurdles at Galway in October, beating Licklighter, but he struggled subsequently in Grade Three contests at Navan prior to getting back on track when beaten into second by Salsaretta atest at Limerick.

The ground could be key to his chances, and his disappointing hurdles starts have come when conditions have been similar to these; he could be better served by softer ground and he may find the ground too quick here.

Swordsman (4/1, Ladbrokes) also represents Gordon Elliott, and the Doyen gelding made a good impression on his hurdles debut when finding only Dunvegan too good at Fairyhouse in December prior to winning next time back there on New Years’ Day.

He won comfortably that day, but this significant drop back in trip isn’t sure to suit given he looked a stayer last time out. However, he is worth his place upped in grade, and he could go well if handling the lesser distance.

The third of the Gigginstown runners, Jan Maat (25/1, Coral) is trained by Henry de Bromhead, and the Electric Beat gelding was useful in bumpers prior to getting off the mark on his hurdles debut at Fairyhouse.

Denied by a neck next time at Wexford, he could only manage sixth behind the reopposing Jetez at Leopardstown latest, possibly doing too much.

However, the winner appeared to win with something in hand that day, and he’ll do well to turn the tables with Jessica Harrington’s charge now with the pair meeting on level weights.

Punchestown are racing on Sunday with the feature being the Grade Two Moscow Flyer Novices' Hurdle.


Jetez (5/1, Paddy Power) has proven progressive over hurdles this term, scoring over the summer at Limerick last May and then resuming winning ways at Leopardstown latest when beating Cut The Mustard readily.

The Getaway gelding is likely to find this tougher stepping out of handicap company to tackle a Graded race; but he remains with scope and could do better yet. He may just lack the potential of a couple of these however.

VERDICT


HARRIE (3/1, Coral) could prove the pick of the Willie Mullins pair in this Grade Two contest, and the Le Havre gelding can enhance his reputation with another win.

Smart in France, he was a runner-up on his debut for this yard in a Down Royal bumper last January; but he stepped up on that run on his hurdles debut to score at Tramore, winning readily having travelled and jumped well throughout.

Sure to have better to come, he is the pick of Ruby Walsh from the Mullins pair, and he could have further improvement to come switching to a sounder surface. He looked a potentially smart sort in that win, and while this is tougher he could prove equal to the task.

2019 MOSCOW FLYER NOVICES’ HURDLE SELECTION - HARRIE (3/1, Coral)

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2019 Moscow Flyer Novices' Hurdle tips - Mullins' 3/1 chance can Harrie to Grade Two success at Punchestown

Brian Healy takes a runner-by-runner look ahead to Sunday's Grade Two feature race at Punchestown.

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