Willie Mullins could be targeting Paul Nicholls

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Willie Mullins has not ruled out participating in the British Jumps Trainers’ Championship after a record-breaking Cheltenham Festival, although he admitted it wasn’t part of his plan for this season.

he Closutton maestro swept the Cotswolds last week with 10 festival winners and propelled him to fourth in the coaching race despite having just 77 British runners this season, compared to 540 for reigning champion Paul Nicholls.

Mullins’ 13 winners on UK soil leave him just £550,000 behind Nicholls in terms of prize money, with some big pots also up for grabs at next month’s Aintree Grand National Meeting and beyond.

The Carlow trainer has been crowned champion trainer 15 times on home soil and looks set to reach that sweet 16 in the coming weeks, but the title of British champion has yet to elude him.

“We were half thinking of doing a challenge over at Aintree but it’s only been two and a half weeks and it wasn’t our game plan,” Mullins told Racing TV as he looked ahead to the upcoming Spring Festivals.

“Often you find that things that aren’t in your game plan don’t work. I think we’ll stick with the tried and tested with Fairyhouse and Punchestown and there will be a few horses going to Aintree.”

If Mullins bagged the £500,000 at the England national winner he would be left with a live scream of yet another remarkable performance but Nicholls is still the heavy favorite to retain his crown.

Mullins was happy to report that his formidable Cheltenham string has returned in good health – apart from a minor injury suffered by Asterion Forlonge which shouldn’t last him long – as he looks to end the season in style.

2019 Irish Grand National winner Burrows Saint looks like Mullin’s best hope in this year’s Aintree feature, but Charlie Longsdon was one of the coaches smiling after the final scratches for the April 9 competition.

With a maximum entry limit of 40 for the world’s most famous steeplechase race, Becher Chase winner Snow Leopardess is now guaranteed a run with the 10-year-old gray horse, who is now number 38 on the list.

It’s a great relief for the mare’s connections – who is already a mother after giving birth to a foal during a two-year absence from the track – and they’re praying for some bucking in the ground when the Liverpool showpiece rolls around.

“It’s great that she’s here. Now it’s up to us to organize and get them there, so fingers crossed,” said a relieved Longsdon.

“She is very well, she worked this morning. She’ll be jumping the national fences at Lambourn later this week and doing a bit of work down there and we’ll probably just do little things before the race.

“We would like some rain. It doesn’t have to be too slow, it just helps – a bit of rain wouldn’t hurt her at all.”

https://www.independent.ie/sport/horse-racing/willie-mullins-could-have-paul-nicholls-in-sights-41481525.html Willie Mullins could be targeting Paul Nicholls

Fry Electronics Team

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