Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 17 December 2017

Mullins' Stars aligned in Paris bid

Trainer Willie Mullins
Trainer Willie Mullins

Aisling Crowe

Willie Mullins launches a formidable three-pronged assault on today's French Champion Hurdle at Auteuil in a bid to win the prestigious contest for the fifth time.

Having seen his late father Paddy triumph with the mighty Dawn Run in the 1980s, Mullins has targeted the Grade One contest frequently in recent years and has enjoyed tremendous success at the Paris track.

Nobody Told Me and Rule Supreme claimed victory for the Mullins team in 2003 and 2004, while Thousand Stars was successful in 2011 and 2012.

The admirable grey returns in a bid to regain his crown, having claimed the Prix la Barka, the traditional warm-up race for the Grande Course de Haies d'Auteuil (French Champion Hurdle), for a second time under Katie Walsh last month. "Thousand Stars goes back there in good form," said Mullins. "We know he likes the track, stepping back up in trip obviously won't be a bother to him and he gets on well with Katie, so it's all positive."

Thousand Stars is joined in the race by stable companions Diakali and Zaidpour.

Diakali, which will be ridden by Ruby Walsh, won the Prix Alain Du Breil at this fixture 12 months ago, while Zaidpour was third in the Champion Hurdle and is back for more in the hands of Paul Townend.

Thousand Stars scraped home by a nose in Paris last month and the runner-up, Le Grand Luce, reopposes this weekend.

The Mullins brigade are joined on the trip from Ireland by the Tony Martin-trained Bog Warrior.

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