Mullins targets World domination
In-form trainer Willie Mullins has a powerful three-strong hand in the ladbrokes.com World Series Hurdle at Punchestown tomorrow.
The Couty Carlow maestro has declared Cheltenham Festival winner Quevega plus recent Fairyhouse victors Cousin Vinny and Mourad as he bids to follow up last year's win with Fiveforthree.
The 15-strong field for the Grade One over three miles includes three British raiders - Karabak and Bensalem from the Alan King stable and the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Kayf Aramis.
Paul Gilligan has opted to run his Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle hero Berties Dream, while Eamonn O'Connell is responsible for Powerstation, third to Bug Buck's in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Completing the line-up are Aitmatov, Jessies Dream, Ninetieth Minute, Noble Prince, Oscar Dan Dan, Prince Erik and War Of Attrition, though the latter is in the Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup on Wednesday's card.
King was keen to get another run into the promising Bensalem, but after a few mishaps over fences this season a spin over hurdles came out on top.
"We just decided with Bensalem, what with him having the heavy fall at Cheltenham, that we wanted to get another run into him and it seemed logical to have it over hurdles," said King.
"We decided to miss Aintree as this race was far more suitable for him.
"He wouldn't want the ground to dry up too much more, but the jockeys on Tuesday were calling it dead and that would be fine for him.
"Karabak will be fresher than most, but he does need a gap between his races, which is why he hasn't had much racing this season.
"We'd always planned to miss Aintree with him for that reason and to come here for his final run.
"He's fresh and well, he looks great and I expect him to run well."