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Mikael's in race against time for Champion

Willie Mullins, while enjoying a treble at the first meeting back in Ireland since New Year's Day, admitted that time could well be running out if Mikael D'Haguenet is to make the Cheltenham Festival.

The French import crowned a terrific unbeaten season for Mullins, with victories at both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals last season, but the Champion trainer said: "I can't see myself entering him in the next 14 days.

"It's getting quite late in the season and I can't see myself entering him in the next 14 days."

There was positive activity in the Champion Hurdle market for Mikael D'Haguenet after Mullins recently said that a chase campaign could be put on hold until next season, and reiterating that yesterday.

"Everything is still left open with him," Mullins added.

"The fact the horse has so much experience is a big thing but if I can get him out before Cheltenham he could go."



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The participation of Hurricane Fly at the Cotswolds was also called into question last month and Mullins stated: "He's making the type of progress we'd expect him to make -- it would be very tough going to get him to Cheltenham."

Noel Meade and Henry de Bromhead both look like heading to Cheltenham with their leading lights without another run.

Meade's Go Native will go straight to the Champion Hurdle with two Grade One's already under his belt this season and on the verge of winning a £1million bonus if he wins the Champion Hurdle.

While Pandorama, a leading candidate for the RSA Chase and a three times winner over fences -- two Grade Ones -- will go straight there after having a break to freshen up and put on weight according to the trainer.

Meanwhile, Sizing Europe who holds an entry for next Sunday's Arkle at Leopardstown is likely to bypass that in favour of the Cheltenham equivalent for which he disputes favouritism with Captain Cee Bee.


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