De Bromhead chases debut win for 'Petit'
Irish Champion Hurdle hero Petit Mouchoir kicks off his career over fences on a quality card at Punchestown today.
A smart novice for champion trainer Willie Mullins two seasons ago, the Gigginstown House Stud-owned grey joined Henry de Bromhead prior to the start of the last campaign and struck for Grade One glory in both the Ryanair Hurdle and the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown before finishing a highly creditable third after making much of the running in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Davy Russell takes the ride for the first time as Petit Mouchoir makes his first competitive appearance since in the Beginners' Chase.
De Bromhead said: "He seems good and we've been happy with him at home. He's schooled well and Punchestown is a nice place to start him off."
The Coral Champions Club Hurdle could be a cracking race, with Gordon Elliott saddling both the hat-trick-seeking The Game Changer and Campeador, which fell at the final flight when looking the likely winner of the 2016 Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham.
The JP McManus-owned five-year-old ran just once last season, also coming to grief at the final flight when holding every chance of landing a valuable prize at Fairyhouse.
'Shark' Hanlon's veteran Hidden Cyclone is sent into battle once more, while De Bromhead is hoping Ornua can get his career back on track after pulling up in the Galway Hurdle.
Dermot Weld's 2014 Champion Bumper hero Silver Concorde gets an eighth chance to open his jumping account in the maiden hurdle.
The nine-year-old faces a far from straightforward task, however, with Elliott's Cracking Smart, Joseph O'Brien's Shady Operator and Borderline Chatho from Alan Fleming's yard all bringing quality form from the National Hunt flat sphere to the table.
Espoir D'Allen, a winner on the Flat in France, is an interesting recruit to the jumping game for McManus and trainer Gavin Cromwell in the opening 3-Y-O Hurdle.