Zaidpour leads Mullins raid
Willie Mullins expects Zaidpour to put up his usual good display in the John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran on Thursday.
The eight-year-old will be making his third successive appearance in this race, having lowered the colours of Voler La Vedette in 2012 and finishing second to Bog Warrior 12 months ago.
Zaidpour has shown he retains plenty of ability, running Jezki to a length and three-quarters in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse in early December and then lifting the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown at the end of last month.
"Zaidpour will love the ground and the distance. He appears on good form on his Christmas run. We're looking forward to it," said Mullins.
The County Carlow trainer also saddles Bishopsfurze, who unseated Ruby Walsh in the Thyestes Chase on this card last year after which he was off the track for almost a year.
Mullins wants to give the nine-year-old a confidence-boosting round as he has had two undistinguished runs on his return to action earlier this month.
"He's a bit outclassed here, but I want to give him a run over hurdles to get his confidence back," he said.
Mala Beach was beaten seven and three-quarter lengths in third place behind Zaidpour at Leopardstown, but his trainer Gordon Elliott feels his charge can get closer this time.
"It looks like he's got a lot to do to beat Willie's again, but this three miles will suit," said the County Meath handler.
Elliott reckons his other runner Un Beau Matin will have his work cut out at the weights, but that the six-year-old, who was second to Mullins's Boston Bob at Punchestown last month, has a couple of things in his favour.
"On ratings it looks like he's got a bit to do, but he'll love the ground and he'll love the trip," he said.