Gordon Elliott saddles six of the 17 entries in Punchestown's feature on Sunday
Sunday is Grand National Trial Day at Punchestown and top trainer Gordon Elliott has six horses standing for the €100,000 BoyleSports Grand National Trial with Grade 1 winner Don Poli heading a competitive field which also includes last year's Irish Grand National winner General Principle.
The Grand National winning trainer has declared six of the 17 runners for Sunday's feature race as he bids to win the BoyleSports National Trial for a second year in a row.
BoyleSports will reward the winning connections of Sunday's feature race with a free entry into the BoyleSports Irish Grand National on Easter Monday and trainer Shark Hanlon is expecting a big run from his entry Kilkishen.
“Kilkishen will absolutely love the trip. Three miles isn't far enough for him so going three and a half miles will be perfect and the plan the whole time with him has been to run in an Irish Grand National so if he wins on Sunday he'll have won a big €100,000 pot and got a free entry into the National as well. With a bit of luck he'd get into the bottom of the weights in the Irish National" said trainer Hanlon.
Last year's National Trial and Irish Grand National runner-up Ilseofhopendreams is one of three Willie Mullins-trained declarations with Some Neck and Orion D'aubrelle also representing the champion trainer.
Leading British-based jockey Tom Scudamore is a notable booking for the Henry de Bromhead-trained Solomn Grundy who has ran well on his first two outings for the in form Waterford handler.
"I'm delighted that Solomn Grundy has got into the National Trial on Sunday and this race will tell us a lot more about whether or not he might develop into a type of horse for a Grand National," de Bromhead said on Friday morning.
"This is a major prize and the horse seems in good form so we're looking forward to giving it a go. If he was to stay well over three and a half miles around Punchestown it would certainly open up a lot of options for us."
"I'm delighted to have Tom Scudamore coming over. He rides a bit for Solomn Grundy's owner Roger Brookhouse and with no racing in Britain Roger felt it made sense to bring him over and he will also ride Celtic Rising in the novice chase for us."
De Bromhead also runs the exciting Cheltenham Festival entry Sinoria in the I.N.H Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle. The Down Royal maiden winner faces six rivals in the Listed race including the Willie Mullins-trained four-time winners Prince D'aubrelle.
Gordon Elliott will run both Chosen Mate and Tintangle in what looks a fascinating race and the trainer commented: "Chosen Mate won very nicely at Fairyhouse. He jumped well and the trip was no problem to him so it's worth giving him a shot at a good race like this. I expect him to improve from that first run. Tintangle ran a solid race last time and if she came back to her run behind Aramon at Christmas she'd have her chance."
A seven race card at Punchestown on Sunday begins with the P.P Hogan Memorial Cross Country Chase in which multiple graded race winner Ballycasey will represent Willie and Patrick Mullins, while cross country specialist Josie's Orders has been declared for Enda Bolger and owner JP McManus.
The ground at Punchestown is good to yielding on the hurdle course, yielding, good to yielding in places on the chase course and good, good to yielding on the cross country course. Further details ahead of Sunday's fixture can be found on www.punchestown.com.