/ Racing

Punchestown preview

Updated: Friday, 26 Apr 2013 21:42 | Comments

Diakali is one of four Willie Mullins runners in the AES Champion 4YO Hurdle
Diakali is one of four Willie Mullins runners in the AES Champion 4YO Hurdle

The AES Champion 4YO Hurdle is the highlight of the final day of the 2013 Punchestown Festival.

With Triumph Hurdle hero Our Conor staying in his box on account of the testing conditions, Willie Mullins is responsible for two-thirds of the six-runner line-up.

Diakali chased home Our Conor at Leopardstown before finishing fourth at Cheltenham and appears the pick of the quartet, and he had stablemate Blood Cotil behind on the first of those occasions.

Mullins' other pair, Djakadam and Dogora, placed behind One Fine Day at Fairyhouse and the reopposing winner was a long way behind the final contender, Stocktons Wing, in the Winning Fair before that.

The ITBA Fillies Scheme EBF Mares Hurdle has lost some of its lustre with the absence of Annie Power, but Mullins still holds all the aces courtesy of Tarla and Glens Melody.

The champion trainer is again double-handed in the Madra Irish Dog Foods Novice Chase with Aupcharlie and Mikael D'Haguenet, and will also have high hopes for Shakervilz and Uncle Junior in the opening Irish Field Chase (2.30), although the latter, like fellow top-weight Outlaw Pete, has a fall on Thursday to bounce back from.

Irish National heroine Liberty Counsel drops back in distance for the Three Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase, in which she crosses swords with Aintree disappointment On His Own and Wyck Hill, who carries the JP McManus colours here rather than in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.

The Noel Meade-trained Il Fenomeno recpatured his best form here earlier in the week and makes a quick return for the Setanta Sports Handicap Hurdle.

Jim Bolger has a rare runner at this meeting when Sukiyaki starts his career in the Peggy Barry-Walsh Memorial (Pro/Am) Flat Race, and old favourite Newmill makes a welcome appearance in the concluding Diageo Ireland Punchestown Charity Race.

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