Mullins ace Limini not gone or forgotten
Limini, which landed a gamble at Cheltenham last year, is on course for a repeat Festival bid, according to trainer Willie Mullins.
The French import, one of the Irish bankers of the 2016 meet, cruised to victory in the first ever running of the mares' novice hurdle for Ruby Walsh at 8/11.
Though she came up short at Aintree and Punchestown and has not been witnessed publicly since, Mullins eyes her return with confidence. "She's in great form and is doing fast work, I am really happy with her," said the champion trainer.
"I expect she'll run if not at the end of January, towards the start of February. I'm thinking the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle for her at Cheltenham - there aren't many other options."
Mullins could also run Annie Power or Vroum Vroum Mag in that event, which he has won every year apart from in its inaugural 2008 edition. Limini is available at 10/1. All three are Rich Ricci-owned.
A Punchestown mares' hurdle in mid-February, which Annie Power won last year at 1/20, could be a feasible return for Limini, though Mullins also considers that an option for Annie Power.
Meanwhile, there was anger among punters when a hefty Rule 4 deduction in Dundalk's first race last evening came into play after the early-morning scratching of US Navy Seal.
Some bookmakers had cut the horse, which had been available at 10/1 on Thursday evening, into as short as 5/2. However, the Turf Club sent out notification, publishing it too on its website's front page at 4.46pm on Thursday, of the horse being scratched.
US Navy Seal tested positive for two banned substances after a Dundalk run on November 9. These therapeutic substances can be used by a trainer provided the horse does not run with either in its system on a race day. The horse tested positive again on Thursday.