sport

Mullins keen on Sure Reef

Willie Mullins thinks Sure Reef "could go right to the top" ahead of his third jumps start in Sunday's Synergy Security Solutions Novice Hurdle

The five-year-old won three times for Mick Halford on the level during 2012 and changed hands for 150,000 later that year.

His National Hunt career did not get off to the best of starts when he unseated Ruby Walsh at the very first obstacle at Punchestown in November, but he showed his class with an impressive display at Leopardstown's Christmas Festival.

He returns to the Foxrock track for a Grade Two prize Mullins has won for the last two years with Boston Bob and Pont Alexandre.

"He is maturing into his jumping and is a course and distance winner, which is a big plus," said the champion trainer. "From what he shows me at home, he could go right to the top."

Point-to-point winner Wounded Warrior finished third on his bumper debut for Noel Meade before securing a bumper and a maiden hurdle at Navan.

The Shantou gelding comes back in distance and steps up in class this weekend, but Meade is hopeful he can make his presence felt.

"He's a horse I've always liked and the softer the ground the better for him," said the trainer.

"I know he won over a longer trip the last day, but I don't think he needs that far. I wouldn't be worried about coming back to two and a half (miles). It looks a good race, but we have to give it a go and see where he fits in."

Edward O'Grady saddles the hat-trick seeking Gallant Trip, who carries the colours of leading owner JP McManus and will be ridden by Tony McCoy.

Gilt Shadow, Moonshine Lad, Mr Fiftyone and Double Irish complete seven declared runners, although the latter appears unlikely to take his chance.

Owner Barry Connell, who only recently bought the Gordon Elliott-trained six-year-old, said: "We declared him but he'll be a non-runner. His scope wasn't right so he won't be going to Leopardstown. He's a good horse, so there is no rush with him. I'm not sure where he'll go next."