Mome stars in Crack Moscow Flyer
Views from connections ahead of the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown on Saturday.
Mullins has dominated the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer in recent years
Willie Mullins relies on Crack Mome in a bid to extend his excellent recent record in the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
The Closutton maestro has saddled six of the last eight winners of the Grade Two contest, with Mikael D'Haguenet (2009), Vautour (2014) and Douvan (2015) all going on to claim Cheltenham Festival glory later that season.
Last year's winner, the Mullins-trained Min, found only Altior too strong in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Prestbury Park and it seems notable the champion trainer has whittled down what was a five-strong team at Tuesday's entry stage to just the one representative.
Crack Mome, who carries the familiar colours of Andrea and Graham Wylie, justified prohibitive odds with a workmanlike success on his Irish debut at Clonmel last month.
Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father, said: "He's a horse that shows an awful lot at home.
"He wasn't that impressive in Clonmel, but we'd be expecting him to improve a lot from that and we're looking forward to running him.
"It's a race with a Grade One roll of honour and he's got a lot to live up to."
Crack Mome is a 10/1 chance in the sponsors' non-runner no-bet market for the Sky Bet Supreme prior to taking on five rivals over two miles.
Any Second Now is an interesting contender for trainer Ted Walsh and owner JP McManus.
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The five-year-old son of Oscar made an impressive racecourse debut at Navan after being sent off an unconsidered 66-1 shot.
"Our horse surprised me in Navan and I hope he surprises me again," said Walsh.
"It's a winners of one – they've all only won the once over hurdles.
"We'll know after this what the pecking order is."
Gigginstown House Stud fires a twin assault, with Henry de Bromhead's Down Royal scorer Calino D'Airy joined by the Noel Meade-trained Coquine D'Aunou, who was runner-up to Crack Mome at Clonmel before bolting up at Limerick over the festive period.
Gigginstown manager Eddie O'Leary said: "Calino D'Airy won his maiden up in the north and it probably wasn't a bad little race, so we thought it was worth having a go.
"She (Coquine D'Aunou) was second first time out to Crack Mome, who is likely to be favourite for this.
"She won well next time and while she'll be better over further, we thought we may as well run her."
Gordon Elliott's Run For Dave recorded a narrow success at Fairyhouse in early December and looked likely to follow up before falling at the second-last in a Limerick conditions race on December 26.
The field is completed by Margaret Flynn's stable star Dr Mikey.
The eight-year-old won two bumpers and opened his account over hurdles impressively at Cork.
Flynn said: "It is a step up, but he's in great form and we're hoping he'll run well.
"I'd be a little bit worried about the ground. It'll be the softest ground he's met and I know from his action he's a better horse on better ground.
"We had a claimer (Barry John Foley) on him last time and he can't claim in this race, but we're keeping him on anyway as he's a horse that's better for knowing.
"He's highly strung and I just hope we can put him to sleep in the race. If we can do that he should run a good race.
"I have no idea what a good horse looks like. Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott probably have 100 of him but I have only one of him!"
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