Willie Mullins sets challenge for Shaneshill at French Champion Hurdle

Horse trainer Willie Mullins hopes the recent spell of warm weather will be a positive factor ahead of Shaneshill's run in the French Champion Hurdle.

The eight-year-old has just one Grade one event on his CV so far but has placed at the highest level on multiple occasions, with second places in the Champion Bumper, Supreme Novices' Hurdle and RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival to his credit.

Shaneshill won one of his six starts last term but claimed the prep race for the event, the Prix la Barka, last month when outpointing the reopposing L'Ami Serge by three-quarters of a length.

Trainer Willie Mullins said the horse has been hard to train during the winter, but thinks he's going to be a lot easier to train in this summer weather.

"He promised me an awful lot early on. He was second three times at the Cheltenham Festival. Now I think he's a bit stronger and maybe he can go through with the promise he showed me," he said.

The Nicky Henderson-trained L'Ami Serge was conceding 4lb that day but will be racing off level weights this time as he tries to turn that form around. L'Ami Serge will also meet another familiar adversary in Paul Nicholls' Ptit Zig, who finished a length and a half adrift at Sandown in April when giving away 8lb and won the race last year.

Irish racehorse trainer Willie Mullins
Irish racehorse trainer Willie Mullins

Warren Greatrex saddles One Track Mind, who is bidding for a first win since his Grade One success at the 2016 Punchestown Festival.

The seven-year-old was initially tried over fences last term, finishing last of five at Newbury in November after blundering at the first obstacle before claiming third next time at Catterick.

However, Greatrex opted to switch back to hurdles after those luckless efforts and One Track Mind was last seen when finishing fifth in the Champion Stayers Hurdle back at Punchestown in April.

Greatrex said: "His first run last season was a non-event, then he ran OK at Catterick. He is definitely up to that standard, whether he is good enough I don't know.

"He had Shaneshill behind him at Punchestown and on ratings he should be in the mix and right up there. He goes there as a fresh horse and, fingers crossed, he can collect some prize-money. If he wins it would be brilliant, but we will see what happens.

"It is the first time I've had a runner over there, so it is a learning curve for me. If it goes well I could think about having more over there," he said.

Device was third in the Prix la Barka and takes his chance again, while Alex De Larryeda, Yoko, Bosseur and Capivari are others to seek redemption following defeat in that race.

- PA

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