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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Brian Flanagan

Who's taking the horse to France? Household names of Irish jump racing are set for a big weekend in Auteuil

Auteuil this weekend will resemble the Punchestown Festival as several of Ireland’s top jumping stars travel to France.

2022 Grand National hero Noble Yeats will attempt to become the first Irish winner of the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris (French Gold Cup) on Sunday, which carries a first prize of a whopping €516,600, in over 100 years.

While Shark Hanlon’s cult hero and €800 purchase Hewick will tackle the Grande Course de Haies d'Auteuil (French Champion Hurdle) on Saturday — chasing a €390,000 first-prize to add to his career earnings of €500,000.

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He faces some familiar names in the race with Gavin Cromwell confirming two-time Stayers’ Hurdle hero Flooring Porter for France as has Willie Mullins his high-class Klassical Dream.

Kilcruit, Asterion Forlonge and Haut En Couleurs are three other Mullins inmates likely to line-up in the 3m contest.

Hewick already has a reputation as a globetrotter having already won the Galway Plate, American Grand National and Oaksey Chase at Sandown.

Rachael Blackmore will once again deputise for the injured Jordan Gainford and Hanlon said: "We are going to Auteuil. I think the race suits him. He will stay all day, so the trip won't be any problem and the fences are like the hurdles in America.

"Hopefully he will get in. There are 20 entries. I should imagine we'll be OK, as a few might come out and they ran 13 in the race two years ago.

"The pot is E390,000. That's the reason we are going there and the reason we went to America - because of the pot.”

Noble Yeats ran two brave races in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and in the Grand National last month - where he finished fourth behind Corach Rambler — but his trainer Emmet Mullins reports him in good shape ahead of his trip to France.

Mullins told the Racing Post: "He's as good as he can be and we've been very happy with him since Aintree. It's On The Line went to Cheltenham, then Aintree and won at Punchestown, so I don't think my horses are finished just yet!

"The trip should be ideal for him and he was smart enough to figure out things and get his way around Aintree, so hopefully he can do likewise on Sunday."


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