Punchestown hero Avant Tout heading for Hennessy

Dual Punchestown Festival winner Avant Tout is set to be prepared for a tilt at the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury this autumn.

The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old won three times during his debut season over fences last term, including an impressive and lucrative success on his final start of the campaign at the big end-of-season meeting in Co Kildare.

Subsequent Galway Plate hero Lord Scoundrel finished behind Avant Tout at both Punchestown and when winning a Grade Two prize at Limerick last spring and connections feel he is still improving.

Steve Massey, racing manager for owners the Supreme Horse Racing Club, said: "We've talked things over with Willie and he's going to be aimed towards the Hennessy, which is fantastic.

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"He'll probably have a run before Newbury somewhere, probably over two and a half miles to sharpen him up.

"To have a horse good enough to go for a race as prestigious as the Hennessy is amazing for us and all his owners."

Massey also provided an update on high-class recruit Open Eagle.

Snapped up by the successful syndicate following a dominant display in the 2014 November Handicap when trained by David O'Meara, the seven-year-old won twice for Mullins over hurdles last season, as well as chasing home the brilliant Altior at Kempton on St Stephen's Day.

"He's going well and has definitely done well for a summer break," said Massey.

"We were thinking of going down the handicap hurdle route, but Willie has decided to send him chasing as long as he schools well.

"He has enough scope to jump fences and could be quite useful over two or two and a half miles."

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