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In-form Mullins team sure to have Sir Des primed for duel

There have only been four days of racing in Ireland so far during February, but during that time Willie Mullins has had 19 runners, six of whom have won and just two have been out of the first four.

We could take up most of the sport section in today's paper talking about the man himself but going into Leopardstown tomorrow – one of the biggest meetings of the year – Mullins warmed up with a four-timer (from five runners) at Clonmel yesterday.

As hopeful as the Flemenstar camp are, Mullins and his team are surely thinking that a better round of jumping from two-time Cheltenham winner Sir Des Champs will see him be very hard to beat in tomorrow's feature contest.

The trainer will also saddle last year's winner Quel Esprit in the Hennessy – he hasn't run in Ireland this season but is trained by a very special man so nothing can be ruled out.

Mullins is not the only trainer represented in all four of tomorrow's Grade Ones, but he will have the favourite or at least the second favourite in them all.

Triumph Hurdle claims are on the line for Blood Cotil in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle, and, if you will excuse the pun, he has been bloodless in his two Irish appearances to date, winning by a combined 20 lengths.

Un Atout is another who looks very special and proof of that is likely to come when he lines up in the Deloitte. A bumper win by 24 lengths was followed by a facile maiden hurdle win by four-and-three-parts of a length and that was complimented by a 19-length romp in decent company at Naas last time out.


In the PJ Moriarty Novice Chase, Andrea and Graham Wylie look like holding a strong interest. They have two exciting novice chasers in the Mullins rank and both Back in Focus and Boston Bob held entries.

Back In Focus is the more likely to take his chance and it will be a fair effort from any horse who prevents him from winning a second consecutive Grade One at Leopardstown.

When the term embarrassment of riches is used, Mullins springs to mind. It's a formidable team that continues to grow and his hardest task is keeping them apart while giving them all winning chances.

He seems to have given his charges every chance of that in four Grade One races at Leopardstown tomorrow.

And it's not only Leopardstown where the champion trainer will be looking for graded honours.

Such is the expanding group of improving mares at his disposal that he will head to Warwick for the Grade Two OLBG.com Mares Hurdle.

They may not all win, but it is hard to see Mullins drive back to his County Carlow base without having a very pleasing afternoon at Leopardstown and further afield.