Mullins sends three in chase of Buveur D'Air
Willie Mullins may be sending a select team to this week's National meeting at Aintree but the Closutton maestro has a star-studded trio in Thursday's Aintree Hurdle.
Melon, Faugheen and Benie Des Dieux will pitch up against Nicky Henderson's dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air over two and a half miles ahead of expected appearances at the Punchestown Festival.
"The trip is what Melon wants, and Faugheen will have no problems at the trip also - but if the ground dries up, that would be the only question mark in running Benie Des Dieux," Mullins said.
All three ran at Cheltenham last month with Faugheen coming home a gallant third in the Stayers' Hurdle and Melon a distant second in the Champion Hurdle, while Benie Des Dieux looked the winner of the Mares' Hurdle before crashing out at the last.
Aramon, sixth to stablemate Klassical Dream in the Supreme, is in the mix for Friday's Top Novices' Hurdle while Mullins has a four-pronged attack on a second Grand National win - Hedgehunter's victory in 2005 is his sole success - on Saturday.
Last year's second Pleasant Company, Rathvinden, Pairofbrowneyes and Up For Review will take their chance while Gordon Elliott's Tiger Roll is on course to attempt to emulate Red Rum (1974) by completing back-to-back victories in the world's greatest steeplechase.
Elliott's likeable nine-year-old (7/2) could go off one of the shortest-priced favourites in the race's history following a second successive triumph in the Cross Country Chase last month and the Cullentra handler is throwing plenty of darts at the board.
Outlander, Don Poli, Mala Beach, Dounikos, A Toi Phil, Jury Duty, Noble Endeavor, Monbeg Notorious, Blow By Blow, General Principle, Folsom Blue, Bless The Wings, Out Sam, Borice and Measureofmydreams are all expected to take their chance.
Elliott brings a sizeable team with 10-time Grade One winner Apple's Jade also likely to take her chance in Saturday's Ryanair Stayers' Hurdle.