AFTER opting not to send anything across to England last weekend, Willie Mullins is back on his travels tomorrow with significant runners at both Doncaster and Cheltenham, writes Niall Cronin.
The star attraction is at Doncaster with Annie Power (pictured) putting her unbeaten record on the line in the Grade Two OLBG Mares Hurdle and the six-year-old will be the mount of Ruby Walsh.
Earlier in the week Doncaster, to their credit, moved the time of the race to 2.05 in an attempt to assist Walsh who was hoping to then fly to Cheltenham to ride against Big Buck's in the Cleeve Hurdle, where Mullins runs Boston Bob.
However, the logistics of that changed when Cheltenham moved the time of the Cleeve Hurdle. "The time frame was just too tight," Walsh said at Gowran Park yesterday and Barry Geraghty was confirmed for the ride on Boston Bob.
Of Annie Power, Mullins told the Herald: "It's a nice opportunity over there with £20,000 for first prize and back to two-miles will keep her sharp and we'll see what we can do. The only drawback is that we have to travel to England for the third time this year. She has taken the first two trips well and it will be more experience for her without having to take on Champion Hurdle horses."
Boston Bob has been earmarked for the World Hurdle by his owners Graham and Andrea Wylie and the champion trainer is looking forward to testing the water.
"Maybe I should have run Boston Bob at Gowran in the Galmoy but who knew that Zaidpour was going to run so poor. Boston Bob has run well at Cheltenham before, so we may as well have a crack at this and see where he is – if he is going to go for the World Hurdle he may as well go over and dip his toe in the water."
Exciting novice hurdler Rathvinden was a faller last time out at Warwick and despite also holding an entry at Doncaster tomorrow, Mullins has opted to send him to Cheltenham for the 2m4f Neptune Investment Novices Hurdle, where Geraghty will also ride.
"I could have brought him to Doncaster but I just thought that three miles at this stage could be too hard and it was shaping up to be a tough race. Whereas at Cheltenham it would be a good opportunity to tell us maybe how good he is too."
Geraghty is looking forward to teaming up with Mullins: "I suppose we are all waiting to see which Big Buck's turns up. I'm sure he'll be ready for the occasion but it will be an interesting one."