Weekend cards on Willie Mullins radar
Willie Mullins looks set to be well represented in Britain this weekend with plenty of entries at the feature meetings.
Last Updated: 06/01/14 4:04pm
Mullins has entered On His Own and Vesper Bell in the Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick, which is sure to be a real stamina test.
On His Own has gone off well fancied for the last two Grand Nationals but has failed to complete, while Vesper Bell fell at the first in the Becher Chase.
Also in the Classic Chase is the popular Carruthers, Cheltenham Festival winner Same Difference, Alfie Sherrin and the novice Shotgun Paddy.
Warwick also stages the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle, a Grade Two better known as the Leamington which The New One won 12 months ago.
Mullins has entered the promising Rathvinden, unbeaten in three races under Rules.
David Pipe's Red Sherlock, Martin Keighley's Creepy, Nicky Henderson's Royal Boy and the Charlie Longsdon duo of Killala Quay and Spirit Of Shankly are among a classy entry of 17.
In the Betfred Novices' Chase Paul Nicholls' exciting Black Thunder, stablemate Benvolio, Donald McCain's Corrin Wood and Shotgun Paddy could all meet Pipe's Gevrey Chambertin who would be making his chasing debut. The ground at Warwick is currently heavy
At Kempton Mullins is well represented right through the card with Gitane Du Berlais, successful at Aintree, in the William Hill - In The App Store Juvenile Hurdle.
He has entered Rathvinden and Sizing Tennessee in the williamhill.com Novices Hurdle, with the exciting Twinlight and Prince De Beauchene possible rivals for Captain Chris and Champion Court in the inaugural williamhill.com Chase.
Mullins will not be represented in the William Hill Lanzarote Hurdle which has attracted 27 entries including Emma Lavelle's Junction Fourteen, Henderson's returning Minella Forfitness and River Maigue and Nicholls' Saphir Du Rheu.
Reopened entries for the rearranged Tolworth Hurdle saved from last weekend's abandoned Sandown card close tomorrow.
Conditions at Kempton are currently soft, heavy in places but clerk of the course Barney Clifford expects it to dry out towards the end of the week.
"The ground would be a 50-50 mix of soft and heavy at the moment and we've a bit more rain to come, maybe five to 10 millimetres," said Clifford.
"It should settle down after tomorrow evening, though, and dry out a bit.
"I'm delighted with the entries and the new Listed chase with Captain Chris, Champion Court and Twinlight looks a belter, just what we hoped for when we put forward for the race.
"The Lanzarote, also, has gone from strength to strength since we upped the distance to two-miles-five, both numerically and quality-wise."
Although heavy, conditions at Warwick were drying on Monday afternoon, but midweek rain is forecast.
Clerk of the course Sulekha Varma said: "We are heavy at the moment but have had a nice day today, breezy and sunny, and the same looks set for tomorrow.
"We are expecting rain on Wednesday, though, quite heavy, but then two fairly clear days after that so while it may dry up before Wednesday we expect to be back where we were.
"It's nearly always like this anyway, so nobody should be surprised.
"We're really pleased with the entries and we're talking to Channel 4 about which races to show as the novice chase looks like being a cracker, as was the case last year with Rocky Creek and Highland Lodge.
"I also spoke to Willie Mullins when I saw he'd made some entries, but he said as it was a busy weekend back home it was too early to say if any would come. I hope he does, as I've been trying to get him over for two years."