All eyes set to be on exciting Impaire Et Passe at Punchestown

Impaire Et Passe, who made such an impression when winning on his debut for Willie Mullins at Naas, aims to live up to his reputation in the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novices’ Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday.

Owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, the French import blitzed the field by 18 lengths in a race which did see several hurdles omitted due to low sun.

He steps up to Grade Two level and takes on Gordon Elliott’s unbeaten mare Shecouldbeanything in a field of five, but he is set to go off a very short-priced favourite.

Assistant trainer Patrick Mullins said: “Some horses thrive after winning a race and you can see them grow in confidence and Impaire Et Passe has come out of the race really well and I’d like to think he will progress from it.

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“We’d like to think that he will be at the top end of his division.”

Paul Townend was on board at Naas and will be again.

“He made a big impact when he won his maiden hurdle at Naas,” Townend told his Ladbrokes blog.

“It probably wasn’t the strongest of races but the way he won it was very impressive. He’s a lot better on the course than he shows us at home and that is no problem. That is the way you want them to be.

“His maiden was over two and a quarter miles, but he is back to two miles here. I don’t think that is going to cause a huge issue for him.

“We have to give 8lb to three of our rivals but if he is going to be the horse that we think he could be, I think he can handle that. I am really looking forward to getting back on him and he is my best ride of the day.”

The race has been moved to first on the card in an attempt to run it in the best possible conditions. The ground is already heavy and the maiden hurdle has been divided with maximum fields in each division.

Ha D'or (left) in action at the Punchestown Festival
Ha D’or (left) in action at the Punchestown Festival (Brian Lawless/PA)

Townend has picked Ha D’or over Glengouly in the Grade Three Madigan Group Novice Chase.

“He was very impressive when winning at Fairyhouse on his first run over fences,” he said. “He seemed much more manageable and relaxed that day than he had been last year.

“It is a competitive race. It is a hot little contest with Minella Crooner, Journey With Me, Glengouly, Impervious in there, who are all last time out winners.

“However, I think my horse has improved from the level he was running at over hurdles last year, and that was a pretty good level. Any improvement on that will put him bang in the mix here.”

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