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Mullins holding a superb hand for Fairyhouse battle

LAST weekend it was Michael O'Leary and his Gigginstown House Stud horses that led the charge for Navan on Troytown day and on Sunday it will be Willie Mullins who will bid to rule the roost at Fairyhouse.

Ireland's champion trainer has had a relatively quiet start to this season by his own admission, yet is still well clear of his peers in the trainer's championship.

On Sunday he holds a very strong hand in all three of the Grade Ones that highlight Fairyhouse's weekend action.

Thousand Stars, Champagne Fever, Arvika Ligeonniere and Mikael D'Haguenet head his assault on the Meath venue and give him strong claims of a Grade One clean sweep.


Mullins had to settle for second spot in last year's Bar One Racing Hatton's Grace Hurdle when Mourad followed home an impressive Voler La Vedette and it will be Colm Murphy's top mare that will once again stand in his way of what would be just a second win in this race.

Hurricane Fly is thus far Mullins' only winner in the 2m4f contest, but Thousand Stars is expected to strip a lot fitter than he did at Tipperary in October and just gets the nod to overturn the favourite.

It is in the Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle that Mullins would appear to have his best chance of the day as Champagne Fever returns to Grade One company after landing last season's Champion Bumper's at both Cheltenham and Punchestown.

The Stowaway gelding is undoubtedly one of the season's more exciting novice hurdles and continues on the right path after a facile hurdling debut at Cork earlier this month.


Mikael D'Haguenet will be getting his second go at winning the Bar One Drinmore Novice Chase which would certainly be a rare occurrence, but the former high class hurdler fell at the last in 2010 when looking to hold every chance and after a number of setbacks and a stint hurdling he is still without a win over larger obstacles, albeit very unfortunate at Punchestown last time.

A real likeable sort is Henry de Bromhead's Buckers Bridge who graduataed from the point to point field to win his bumper, his hurdle and his beginners all since March and he could be the real deal in the colours of Alan and Ann Potts.