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Pointers on Track

Faugheen and Black Op among 51 in Stayers' Hurdle

Former Irish point-to-pointers are well represented in the three mile Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle with 12 of the 51 entries having begun their career between-the-flags.

Former Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen is best priced of the pointers and is 7/1 to add to his haul of nine Grade 1 wins. Trained by Willie Mullins, the son of Germany began his career with Andrew Slattery, when taking a four-year-old maiden at Ballysteen under Roger Quinlan.

Sold shortly afterwards to Rich Ricci, the 11-year-old has won 14 of his 20 starts under rules, amassing over €1,000,000 in prize money. He is a notable absentee from the Champion hurdle entries and may well bid to atone for his penultimate flight fall at Leopardstown over Christmas in this contest.

Samcro is next in the betting at 8/1, however last seasons’ Ballymore novice hurdle winner is unlikely to make Cheltenham, having being diagnosed with a heavy lung infection following a couple of below par efforts this season.

10/1 shot Black Op, won his only start between the flags by 25l around Loughanmore for Rodney Arthur, before being purchased by Roger Brookhouse for £210,000. The Tom George – trained eight-year-old finished second to none other than Samcro is last seasons’ Ballymore novice hurdle, before going on to win the 2m4f Grade 1 novice hurdle at Aintree.

The son of Sandmason also holds entries for Arkle and the RSA, however connections are considering a return to the smaller obstacles following a couple of defeats over fences.

Bacardys is a dual Grade 1 winner who is widely available at 16/1 for this contest. A winner of a four-year-old maiden around Quakerstown for Pat Doyle, the now eight-year-old has been running over fences of late and was running well at Leopardstown over the Christmas period when coming to grief at the final fence in a beginners chase. Willie Mullin’s charge also holds an entry in RSA.

Kilbricken Storm, Mias Hill, Momella, Mulcahys Hill, Nautical Nitwit, Petit Mouchoir, Prince of Scars and Shaneshill complete the line-up of point-to-point graduates in this contest which is due to take place on the third day of the festival.
 

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