Mullins hopes 'Spider' can strike Troytown blow for smaller trainers
Tom Mullins is relishing the opportunity to mix it with the big boys as Spider Web goes in search of a big-race double in the €100,000 Ladbrokes Troytown Chase on Sunday at Navan.
Spider Web reeled in James Motherway's Na Trachtalai Abu to snatch last month's Munster National at Limerick and Mullins - brother of champion trainer Willie - reports him to be in fine fettle as he bids to strike another blow for smaller operations.
"He's brilliant. He came out of it very well. He's working well since and we'll keep him ticking over until Sunday. The only concern I'd have is that it would be too fast and I hope a little bit of rain comes," the Kilkenny trainer said.
"It's very important because the trainers that are outside the top five or six in the table are struggling to get any horses of this calibre and it takes a while to get up to that level.
"It takes two or three years or more to get up to this sort of race so it's very important for a yard like my own to have some big race to pitch at."
Spider Web is one of 37 entries as Gordon Elliott's 'drive for five' takes shape with the Cullentra handler set to run double figures in the Meath feature with 14 entries.
Elliott has farmed the Troytown in recent years and chases his fifth victory in succession with his entries including Cork Grand National winner Out Sam, runner-up Rogue Angel as well as Irish Grand National winner General Principle and current top-weight Dounikos.
Pairofbrowneyes represents Willie Mullins and is ante-post favourite while the Closutton maestro could also call on Minella Beau and Undressed with the latter recently switching from Michael Hourigan's yard.
It's another exciting weekend for Mullins as he takes the wraps off Champion Hurdle hopeful Laurina in Saturday's Ascot Hurdle, for which the Cheltenham Festival winner is 5/6 favourite for the Grade Two contest.
Elliott's Samcro is also entered but connections are favouring a crack at back-to-back Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air on Saturday week in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.
The Ladbrokes Trophy takes place that same day in Newbury with Mullins nominating Kemboy as his best chance with the trainer eyeing back-to-back victories.
His impressive Clonmel Oil Chase success earlier this month saw him pick up a 4lb penalty and the progressive six-year-old is a best-price 10/1 to match Total Recall's triumph 12 months ago.