Tuesday 6 December 2016

Outlander's bounce back bid

Ashley Iveson

Published 27/03/2016 | 02:30

“It’s coming a bit quick, but we’ll let him take his chance,” said Mullins Photo: Sportsfile
“It’s coming a bit quick, but we’ll let him take his chance,” said Mullins Photo: Sportsfile

Willie Mullins has admitted the Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse this afternoon is "coming a bit quick" for Outlander as he aims to bounce back from his fall at the Cheltenham Festival.

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Having completed a hat-trick of wins over fences in the Grade One Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown last month, the eight-year-old travelled to Prestbury Park as a major contender for the JLT Novices' Chase, but came to grief four fences from the finish.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding returns to action just 10 days later in today's feature event, with Bryan Cooper taking the ride once more.

"It's coming a bit quick, but we'll let him take his chance," said Mullins. "He doesn't appear to have suffered any ill effects from the fall in Cheltenham. He was hampered at the start and I think he was well beaten when he came down, so we'll see what he can do."

Mullins also runs another Gigginstown representative in McKinley, the mount of Ruby Walsh, and the Paul Townend-ridden Vedettariat.

Gigginstown have a third string to their bow in the form of Gordon Elliott's Lord Scoundrel.

There are two challengers from Britain, with the Venetia Williams-trained Otago Trail joined by Kerry Lee's Kylemore Lough.

The latter has won his last four starts over fences and tests his powers at the highest level for the first time here with Barry Geraghty in the saddle. Tony Martin's Blair Perrone and Sizing Platinum from Henry de Bromhead's stable complete an eight-strong field.

Jessber's Dream bids to provide trainer Harry Fry with a second successive victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle. The Seaborough-based trainer claimed the Grade One prize with Bitofapuzzle 12 months ago and returns with another major candidate in Jessber's Dream following her success at Sandown in mid-February. "Willie Mullins runs Myska, who we were second to at Taunton, but that was over two miles and the longer trip will definitely be a help to us," said Fry.

"Jer's Girl is getting a handy four-year-old allowance, so it's a good race, as you would expect. But our mare is going the right way, she's on an upward curve and we're looking forward to the challenge."

Myska is one of four runners for the champion trainer, with Ruby Walsh riding French recruit Asthuria. Paul Townend comes in for the ride on Myska, who needs to bounce back from a disappointing run at Punchestown. Miss Me Now (David Mullins) and Monbeg Rose (Jonathan Burke) complete the Closutton quartet.

Cashelard Lady bolted up at Fairyhouse on New Year's Day before returning to the track to chase home Mullins-trained Cheltenham heroine Limini later in the month. "She's had a long season, but she seems in very good form," said trainer Shane Crawley. "Davy Russell is riding her for the first time, but she's fairly uncomplicated. She likes to tip away in front and hopefully they won't catch her."

Jer's Girl is a contender for trainer Gavin Cromwell. The four-year-old was narrowly beaten by subsequent Triumph Hurdle runner-up Apple's Jade at Leopardstown over Christmas before finishing fifth behind the likes of Footpad and winner Ivanovich Gorbatov in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle. She receives almost a stone from each of her rivals and has been snapped up by JP McManus ahead of her big-race assignment.

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