Kalkir favourite for Coral.ie Hurdle despite ten-month absence

Willie Mullins’ charge a 7-1 shot for prestigious €100,000 contest at Leopardstown

  Kalkir returns to action at Leopardstown on Sunday after a ten months absence. Photo:  Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Kalkir returns to action at Leopardstown on Sunday after a ten months absence. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

 

Kalkir hasn’t run in ten months but bookmakers clearly believe him capable of providing Willie Mullins with a fourth success in the newly-titled Coral.ie Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday.

The champion trainer has a quarter of the 32 entries left in the prestigious €100,000 contest and the sponsors’ immediate reaction was to install Kalkir a 7-1 favourite.

Mullins’s other options include the topweight Ivan Grozny but he also holds a Grade Three entry for the preceding day’s Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas, a race for which Mullins has also entered the star mare, Vroum Vroum Mag.

Kalkir hasn’t been seen in action since being pulled up in last season’s Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham but the big-race sponsors reckon he could be the type to try for a €100,000 bonus should he win this weekend and then double up in Cheltenham’s Coral Cup.

Another Mullins entry, Herminator, is prominent in the betting and is a 12-1 shot.

Some of the cream of Mullins’s top novice talent may appear this weekend with both Pont Alexandre and Black Hercules, who top the betting for Cheltenham’s four-mile National Hunt Chase, holding double entries.

Both stars are among ten remaining in the Grade Two Woodlands Novice Chase at Naas while Black Hercules is also in Leopardstown’s Grade Two novice the following day.

Pont Alexandre also has the option of a Listed contest at Warwick on Saturday as Mullins aims to give the German-bred a second start over fences after successfully returning to action at Punchestown last month.

Former Cheltenham Foxhunters hero Salsify could make a first start of the season at Thurles tomorrow. “I don’t know whether I’ll run him or not. He is just tipping away at the moment,” said trainer Rodger Sweeney. “The ground would probably be a bit heavy for him. We’re going to take it day by day.”

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