Willie Mullins duo top Topham weights at Aintree
Last Updated: 29/03/17 1:50pm
The Willie Mullins duo of Ballycasey and Alelchi Inois head the weights for the Randox Health Topham Chase at Aintree next week.
Mullins was last successful in the two-mile-five race over the National fences with Time For A Win in 2002, although Alelchi Inois is thought more likely to wait for the Grand National 24 hours later.
Ireland's champion trainer could also field Haymount (10st 13lb) and The Crafty Butcher (10st 4lb).
His big rival Gordon Elliott could run Clarcam (11st 4lb), A Toi Phil (11st 3lb) or Definite Ruby (9st 10lb).
One Irish challenger confirmed is Philip Dempsey's Mr Diablo, a winner at Leopardstown last time out
"The plan is to come over to Aintree with Mr Diablo. It was a good performance to win off top-weight at Leopardstown and he schooled over the National-style fences at the Curragh last Friday, which went well," said Dempsey.
"We put a tongue-tie on him last time, although I am not sure how much of a difference it made. He has never had a wind issue and is a good horse on his day, but it certainly won't do any harm to put it on again.
"He was second in a €100,000 chase at Punchestown last year, when he had some very good horses behind him including the Galway Plate winner Lord Scoundrel, but then he got a bad cut on a tendon when he ran at Roscommon.
"He has won on all sorts of ground and he's a good moving horse. He has mixed it with some of the best around at times and you would like to dream he could be a National horse one day."
Paul Nicholls has a strong hand with Grand Sefton winner As De Mee (10st 10lb), Bouvreuil (10st 11lb) and Warriors Tale (10st 9lb) among his team.
Go Conquer (10st 1lb), Seefood (10st 1lb) and Henryville (10st 6lb) are others towards the head of the betting.