Punchestown day three preview
Updated: Wednesday, 24 Apr 2013 17:05
A mouthwatering contest for the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle is the undoubted highlight at Punchestown on Thursday, with star mare Quevega taking on staying champion Solwhit.
Willie Mullins' Quevega has won the last three renewals of this race, and overcame a troubled passage to notch her fifth Mares' Hurdle crown at Cheltenham.
Solwhit has taken up the mantle vacated by the injured Big Buck's, winning the World Hurdle at Cheltenham before cruising to victory in the Liverpool Hurdle.
Add in the likes of Fiveforthree and Reve De Sivola, and a cracking contest is in the offing.
The other Grade One on the card is equally competitive, with a host of top novice chasers going to post for the Ryanair Novice Chase.
Cheltenham Festival winner Benefficient and Powers Gold Cup hero Realt Mor both drop back to the minimum trip for this contest, where they meet Aintree winner Special Tiara, the highly-touted Arvika Ligeonniere and Grand Annual hero Alderwood.
The Avon Ri Corporate And Leisure Resort Chase For The La Touche Cup is the premier event on the banks course at the Festival and pits a number of the Cheltenham cross-country horses against each other again.
Big Shu came out on top at Prestbury Park, but is considerably worse off at the weights with the fourth that day, Bostons Angel, while Uncle Junior also enjoys a massive weights swing.
The meeting gets under way with the Stephens Green Hibernian Club Hurdle, where Nicky Henderson's British raider Malt Master bids to get back to winning ways, though Marito, You Must Know Me and Mackeys Forge provide a strong home defence.
Darenjan, Barneys Honour, A Fine Young Man and Paddy O Dee all bid to follow up last-time-out wins in the Bibby Financial Services Handicap Chase, while the Orchid Transport Mares Novice Hurdle could be between Mullins' pair of Upsie and Twigline.