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Bob Olinger misses Punchestown

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Bob Olinger ridden by Rachael Blackmore on their way to winning the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle on day two of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. Picture date: Wednesday March 17, 2021.

Bob Olinger is a late absentee from Friday’s Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle.

Henry de Bromhead’s hugely impressive Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner was found to be coughing on the morning of the race.

Having claimed a clean sweep of the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup at Cheltenham, De Bromhead has yet to fire at Punchestown – and Gold Cup hero Minella Indo was also a late absentee with a stone bruise.

De Bromhead had earlier taken out Decimation, who only ran two days ago.

In their absence only four remain, with three trained by Willie Mullins.

Jessica Harrington’s saddles Ashdale Bob, who was a narrow Grade Two winner at Fairyhouse this month.

“He’s probably up against it, but he hasn’t gone to Cheltenham and he’s won two Grade Twos, so he’s entitled to take his chance,” she said.

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“It was great to see him win at Fairyhouse.”

Mullins’ runners are headed by Gaillard Du Mesnil, who was second to Bob Olinger at Cheltenham, with Ganapathi and N’golo completing the field.

Mullins said on his website: “Gaillard Du Mesnil came out of the Cheltenham race well. Realistically our other two runners are running for place money.

“Ganapathi found the trip too sharp in the County Hurdle, but that experience will help him here.

“N’golo ran too free in the Albert Bartlett but a change of tactics here might enable him to get a good share of the prize money.”

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