View from connections ahead of Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle

View from connections:

Gordon Elliott is confident a drop in distance will not inconvenience Andy Dufresne in the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle.

The Cullentra handler possessed a strong hand at the five-day stage, but relies solely on the JP McManus-owned six-year-old to provide him with a second successive win in the two-mile Grade Two following the victory of Felix Desjy 12 months ago.

Andy Dufresne cost £330,000 after impressing in his sole point-to-point - and he lived up to his tall reputation with hugely impressive displays on his first two starts under Rules at Down Royal and Navan.

However, he lost his aura of invincibility when suffering a shock defeat in last month's Navan Novice Hurdle, having to make do with the runner-up spot behind Paul Nolan's Latest Exhibition.

"Andy Dufresne got beaten by a very good horse of Paul Nolan's last time and he's been in good shape since then," said Elliott.

"The way he jumps and travels, two miles should be no problem for him."

Andy Dufresne is set to face five rivals at Punchestown, with Joseph O'Brien saddling both Anything Will Do and Meticulous.

Anything Will Do counts two course and distance wins among his four victories from just five career starts, while Meticulous is thrown in at the deep end on his hurdling bow - his first competitive appearance since finishing eighth in last season's Champion Bumper.

"Both Anything Will Do and Meticulous are in good shape," O'Brien said on Friday morning.

"Anything Will Do is a very consistent horse with solid form and if he runs his race again, hopefully he'll be able to give Andy Dufresne a run for his money

"It would look a tough ask for Meticulous, having his first run over hurdles, but it comes to a point in the season when you want to get him out.

"His bumper form has worked out very well and there is no doubt that he is a decent horse, so we look forward to seeing what he can do over obstacles- we are looking forward to getting him started."

The formidable combination of Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore is represented by once-raced Navan winner Captain Guinness.

Both John Ryan's The Little Yank and Shanroe from Karl Thornton's yard will be big outsiders.

Man On The Spot verdict:

2
611-2OR: -BFD
8/15
Last RunWatch last race

Anything Will Do has won twice here and though they were only in novice company and he didn't win by far he's progressing nicely. His stable companion Meticulous was only beaten just over a length by Envoi Allen in a Grade 2 bumper at Leopardstown before finishing mid-division behind that brilliant winner in the championship event at Cheltenham.

ANDY DUFRESNE won a point and a bumper before a very impressive hurdling debut at Navan. He started long odds-on for a Grade 2 on the same track but was put in his place by Latest Exhibition, who outstayed him over that 2m4f. He has questions to answer after that but gets another chance to put matters right. Captain Guinness was a 20/1 chance on his debut but defied his odds with a cracking effort, taking advantage of Backbow falling at the last when in the lead. He's certain to make further progress and could provide the main threat.

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