Nichols Canyon to bid for American prize

Willie Mullins sending Cheltenham stayer’s hurdle winner to Nashville’s Iroquois Hurdle

Willie Mullins has confirmed his star staying hurdler Nichols Canyon will attempt to win a lucrative bonus in America later this month.

Having won the Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, the Graham and Andrea Wylie-owned gelding is in line to win a 500,000 bonus is he can win in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois Hurdle on May 13th.

Mullins sent Shaneshill and Nichols Canyon over to the Nashville venue last year and the pair were second and third respectively behind the ex-Irish Rawnaq, who was ruled out of his own attempt at the double by injury.

Nichols Canyon narrowly failed to add the Punchestown Stayers’ Hurdle to his impressive Grade One tally when beaten by Unowhatimeanharry last week.

“The intention is for Nichols Canyon to go for the Iroquois,” said Mullins.

“He seems fine after his run at Punchestown on Thursday and plans are fairly advanced for taking him out to America — we’ll just give him a quiet few days at home. I imagine Ruby (Walsh) would ride.

“It was a good experience last year and they had a lot of water on the track, so we are happy enough to travel back again.

“The prize money is good but we are in line for the bonus, so it would make the trip even better if we could win that!”