Mullins planning weekend raid
WILLIE MULLINS is regrouping his battalions and also keeping his fingers crossed that English racecourses win their battle with the bad weather as he plans a weekend raid.
The champion trainer has made a host of entries for the main meetings at Warwick and Kempton, with On His Own and Vesper Bell spearheading his challenge on the marathon Betfred Classic Chase, which is run at Warwick.
"At the moment, they are just entries. I'll sit down on Thursday and study them, and see what we come up with," Mullins said last night.
Despite being well supported in the betting market for the last two Grand Nationals, On His Own has failed to finish but he did run a race full of promise when sixth in last month's Becher Chase at Aintree -- a race in which Vesper Bell fell at the first.
Also in the Classic Chase is the popular Carruthers, Cheltenham Festival winner Same Difference, Alfie Sherrin and the novice Shotgun Paddy.
Warwick also stages the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle, a Grade Two better known as the Leamington which The New One won 12 months ago.
Mullins has entered the promising Rathvinden, a point-to-point recruit which runs in the Simonsig colours of Ian Bartlett and is unbeaten in three races under Rules.
David Pipe's Red Sherlock, Martin Keighley's Creepy, Nicky Henderson's Royal Boy and the Charlie Longsdon duo of Killala Quay and Spirit Of Shankly are among a classy entry of 17.
At Kempton, Mullins is well represented with Gitane Du Berlais, successful at Aintree, in the William Hill -- In The App Store Juvenile Hurdle.
He has entered Rathvinden and Sizing Tennessee in the williamhill.com Novices Hurdle, with the exciting Twinlight and Prince De Beauchene possible rivals for Captain Chris and Champion Court in the inaugural williamhill.com Chase.
Mullins will not be represented in the Lanzarote Hurdle, which has attracted 27 entries including Emma Lavelle's Junction Fourteen, Henderson's Minella Forfitness and River Maigue and Paul Nicholls' Saphir Du Rheu.
Entries for the rearranged Tolworth Hurdle saved from last weekend's abandoned Sandown card close tomorrow. Conditions at Kempton are soft, heavy in places but clerk of the course Barney Clifford expects it to dry out towards the end of the week.
Tomorrow's jumps fixture at Ludlow had to be abandoned due to a waterlogged track but Leicester are confident their meeting will proceed today.
Southwell managed to stage their seven-race jumps card yesterday. Noel Fehilly combined with trainer Charlie Longsdon for a 3/1 double courtesy of hurdle victories aboard No No Mac and Wadswick Court. Andrew Thornton was another to record a brace, winning the opening two contests on The Informant and High Ron for a 71/1 double. (© Daily Telegraph, London)