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    Confidence in Ballyburn's Potential to Make a Mark in Gallagher Event
Confidence in Ballyburn's Potential to Make a Mark in Gallagher Event
Ballyburn at Leopardstown Racecourse — Patrick McCann

Confidence in Ballyburn's Potential to Make a Mark in Gallagher Event

Ballyburn leads a Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle field dominated by Willie Mullins-trained contenders. 

The six-year-old has tasted defeat only once in five races under rules, triumphing in two bumpers before finishing behind Gordon Elliott’s Firefox in his hurdling debut. Subsequently, he claimed a 25-length victory in a Leopardstown maiden and then secured another win at Grade One level by seven lengths in the Tattersalls Ireland 50th Derby Sale Novice Hurdle, defeating Slade Steel. 

Despite the latter run being over two miles and the former over two and a half, the bay, a three-mile point-to-point victor, will extend to Cheltenham by a furlong. 

Mullins expressed optimism, stating,

“Ballyburn is proving himself, and I anticipate a strong performance on Wednesday." 

Mullins also fields four more runners, including Ile Atlantique, owned by Tony Bloom. Ile Atlantique won his hurdling debut by 25 lengths and finished second by a neck to Readin Tommy Wrong in the Grade One Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle over two and a half miles. Sean Graham, racing manager to Bloom, reflected on the decision to skip the Dublin Racing Festival and head straight to Cheltenham.

Predators Gold, another Mullins entry, secured second in both the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle and the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle. 

Mercurey, victorious in a Punchestown maiden hurdle, and Clonmel winner Jimmy Du Seuil also represent the stable. Ben Pauling's Handstands leads the British challenge, unbeaten in three races and a point-to-point. Handstands beat Nicky Henderson’s Jango Baie at Huntingdon and will be ridden by Harry Cobden at Cheltenham. 

Pauling is confident in Handstands' condition, saying,

“He won comfortably at Huntingdon, and we are excited to see how he performs on Wednesday.”

Henderson's Jingko Blue and Harriet Dickin’s The Grey Man complete the field.

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