Ruby Walsh rides Nichols Canyon, left, and Danny Mullins rides Shaneshill during a morning workout Friday, May 13, 2016, in preparation for the Iroquois Steeplechase scheduled to be run Saturday, May 14, in Nashville, Tenn. Champion Irish trainer Willie M
Mark Humphrey
May 13, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Champion Irish trainer Willie Mullins will start two horses in Saturday's $200,000 (Grade 1) Calvin Houghland Iroquois Steeplechase in search of a $500,000 bonus.

That sum will be paid to the owner of the horse that wins both the Iroquois and the Ryan Air World Hurdle at Britain's Cheltenham Festival next March.

Mullins shipped Andrea and Graham Wylie's Nichols Canyon and Shaneshill to Nashville to run in the 3-mile race over 18 national fences against six American opponents, all proven runners over the jumps.

Shaneshill and Nichols Canyon arrived at Percy Warner Park on Tuesday and have been galloping and schooling in preparation. Mullins' assistants said both horses responded well to the travel and new environment.

''It's been so far, so good for the both of them,'' Mullins said. ''It's been tough on them, 15 hours flying and then quarantine.''

Champion jockey Ruby Walsh will ride Nichols Canyon with Mullins' nephew, Danny Mullins, on Shaneshill. All horses carry 158 pounds.

Demonstrative, a two-time Iroquois winner and the 2014 steeplechaser of the year, will be ridden by Darren Nagle. Pierrot Lunaire, the 2009 Iroquois winner and that year's champion, will be ridden by Bernie Dalton.

Maryland-based trainer Jack Fisher has named Connor Hankin to ride Scorpiancer with Sean McDermott aboard Syros.

Jack Doyle will handle the reins of Rawnaq, a recent stakes winner at Middleburg, Virginia. Gerald Gallagan will ride Italian Wedding for Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard.

The seven-race card run by the Volunteer State Horsemen's Association starts Saturday afternoon and benefits Monroe Carell Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University.

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