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Mullins not taking foot off gas

WE may be into the summer racing season, but many trainers seem keen to make use of the favourable ground conditions and there have been some high-profile horses appearing among the entries for the last week or so.

Willie Mullins landed the Beginners Chase at Punchestown on Saturday with highly-rated hurdler Felix Yonger, but at the entry stage, Mullins' dual Cheltenham Festival winner Champagne Fever also featured.

However, after saddling a Punchestown four-timer, Mullins revealed that Champagne Fever would not feature in the next week or so and will now be sent on his summer holidays before returning to action in the autumn, while Felix Yonger is also set for a break now.



Henry de Bromhead's Sizing Rio was another classy recruit to fences, but his chasing debut was delayed at the weekend as he was pulled out of Punchestown due to being lame Saturday morning.

Tomorrow's Killarney meeting will see the chasing debut of Mick Winters' 2012 Galway Hurdle winner Rebel Fitz. The eight-year-old is rated 155 over hurdles, but has always been touted as a potentially better chasing prospect by connections. That career will get under way at the Kerry track tomorrow afternoon, where he is due to take on Jessica Harrington's Steps To Freedom.

It's more than a year since Harrington has got to run Steps To Freedom over hurdles as the trainer struggled to find his preferred good ground, but after a number of decent runs on the level, he is a very interesting recruit to the larger obstacles.

Despite the fact that we are into the summer, Willie Mullins isn't taking his foot off the gas with his runners and since Punchestown, he has sent out eight winners from just 18 runners.