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Champion trainer set for a pre-Christmas feast domestically with strong contingent on show

The finances of some people going into New Year's Eve will depend on just how good a Christmas the Willie Mullins-trained battalion have at Leopardstown, Limerick and beyond from St Stephen's Day but those set for a bit of late Christmas shopping next week could have the coffers boosted by following the champion trainer over this weekend.

At Fairyhouse today, the Carlow trainer will begin the afternoon with Un De Sceaux in the opening beginners' chase and after putting in an almost faultless round of jumping at Thurles on his debut before meeting the third last on that occasion, Un De Sceaux looked like he was going to justify his place as market leader for the Arkle at Cheltenham.

On the basis of his fall, he was then pushed out in the betting but a clear round today should insure him opening his account over fences and will probably see him cut again for that Cheltenham target.

With five runners on the card today it would be no surprise at all if Mullins managed a clean sweep with Val De Ferbet having good enough form over hurdles to suggest he could make a winning debut over fences.

The juvenile hurdle sees Mullins run Uradel, who was a beaten odds on debut last time out and probably is the most vulnerable, with Ring Chief one to keep an eye on there for Des McDonogh and Mikey Fogarty.

Mullins is likely to get back to winning ways with French recruit Arbre De Vie in the maiden hurdle and winning point-to-pointer Stone Hard expected to claim the concluding bumper.

At Thurles tomorrow, Patrick Mullins could be set for a brace with Lyrical Theatre in the mares' maiden hurdle and another point-to-point winner Plyonthepressure in the concluding bumper.

Of course, Mullins is also represented by the David Casey-ridden Clondaw Warrior in the Ladbroke Hurdle today with Bayan, Pyromaniac and Sea Beat the other Irish raiders.