Mullins excited ahead of a vintage renewal of the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle
Champion trainer Willie Mullins will launch a five-pronged attack on the Grade 1 Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle this Sunday, a race the trainer believes will be a vintage renewal.
Mullins, who won last year’s renewal with Champ Kiely, will saddle a battalion of exciting novice hurdlers in Sunday’s feature race with stable jockey Paul Townend booked to partner the Tony Bloom-owned Ile Atlantique.
Ile Atlantique was a 19-length winner on his hurdle debut at Gowran Park in November and Sunday’s race will see him once again lock horns with the Gordon Elliott-trained Firefox after the pair pulled 25-lengths clear of the field in a Fairyhouse bumper last Easter.
Patrick Mullins will ride the Rich Ricci-owned Chapeau De Soleil, while Lecky Watson will be the mount of Danny Mullins for the Slaneyville Syndicate. Mark Walsh renews his association with the JP McManus, John Magnier and Rich Ricci-owned Mystical Power, while Daryl Jacob travels over to ride Readin Tommy Wrong for Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.
Mullins is seeking a fifth win in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle since the race was upgraded to Grade 1 status in 2015 and the Closutton maestro will be hoping to kick start the new year with top level success following his five Grade 1 victories over the festive period recently.
“We left five horses in the race earlier this week and have declared all five this morning,” confirmed Mullins. “They are each owned by five different owners and they have all shown ability to be good enough to tackle what I think will be one of the best graded novice races run over the Christmas period in Ireland or England.
“The five horses have all shown that they have speed and stamina which will be required for a contest of this nature.”
Mullins added: “Paul has picked Ile Atlantique which must have impressed him the most of our five entries but all five horses appear in good form at the moment and have been working well over the Christmas period waiting for this race. How all the horses run in this race is sure to be a great pointer to the season ahead.”
Gordon Elliott, who has enjoyed notable success in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle, saddles the Bective Stud-owned Firefox and stable companion Croke Park. Firefox, who will be ridden by Jack Kennedy, has racked up a winning sequence of four which included a maiden hurdle win at Fairyhouse last month as well as that defeat of Ile Atlantique last season, while the Gigginstown House Stud-owned Croke Park will be ridden by Sam Ewing.
An Tobar represents the Henry de Bromhead stable with Rachael Blackmore partnering the Robcour-owned seven-year-old. An Tobar was third in a hotly contested Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle on his last start and brings strong form to what looks likely to be a memorable edition of the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle.
Grade 1 winners feature in the opening two races on the card also as Brandy Love faces four rivals in the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase, while the 2021 Triumph Hurdle winner Quilixios will aim to bounce back to winning ways in the BetVictor Irish EBF Novice Chase. The de Bromhead-trained Quilixios will meet recent winners Mister Policeman and Sa Fureur in an intriguing six-runner field.
The first on a seven-race card is off at 12.30pm and further details can be found at naasracecourse.com. The Best Dressed Competition on Sunday is open to both ladies and gents and the judges are looking for ‘Best Dressed’ on the day. There will also be live music and entertainment throughout the day.
View the entries here