Mullins fields bumper trio

WILLIE Mullins plans to be triple-handed as he bids to win the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham for a sixth time.

Mad Fish, Cooldine and Fiveforthree are set to carry the County Carlow trainer’s hopes next Wednesday.

The trio will try to emulate Mullins’ previous winners of the race – Missed That (2005), Joe Cullen (2000), Alexander Banquet (1998), Florida Pearl (1997) and Wither Or Which (1996).

“All three are in good form. I have not sorted out any jockeys for them yet,” said Mullins, after working them at the Curragh on Wednesday.

“Mad Fish has come on for his second to Aranleigh at Fairyhouse and I’m very happy with him. He certainly does all the right things at home.

“Tony’s (Mullins) horse that beat him that day would be the one to beat I would imagine, and Cork All Star, trained by Jessica Harrington, also has tremendous form.

“Cooldine looks to be improving – it was a very slowly run race last time which would not have been ideal, as he has a staying pedigree, and Cheltenham will suit him.

“Fiveforthree has come out of Punchestown well and I’m pleased with him. He has progressed for the race and he’s done a couple of nice bits of work since then. ”

Pick of the Mullins trio with the bookmakers is Mad Fish at 8-1 with Fiveforthree generally available at 10-1 and Cooldine a best-priced 25-1.

Mullins’ Festival team is also set to include Snowy Morning, winner of three of his four starts over fences, and Black Harry, winner of a Fairyhouse novices’ hurdle by a distance in January.

“Snowy Morning looks like going for the Royal & SunAlliance Chase. I am pleased with how he has come out of his Navan race and I think the spring will suit him better,” added Mullins.

“If the ground happened to dry up that would also be in his favour.

“Although he has run on heavy going this term, he has form on better ground - he won his maiden hurdle on nearly summer ground.

“If he can make the jump up from Grade Two to Grade One company, then he’s going to be an exciting horse, because he stays well and jumps well.

“Cheltenham will tell us a lot about where we can go with him in future.

“One horse I am particularly looking forward to running is Black Harry in the Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle.

“He was very impressive when he won at Fairyhouse and he stays and jumps well, plus he will love the soft ground.

“He came out of the race in good order and worked very well on Wednesday. Although he hasn’t run since January, he had plenty of runs before that so he’s fairly straight.”

Meanwhile Aran Concerto heads the five-day confirmations for the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle.

None of his major rivals have been withdrawn, with his main opposition is expected to come from Edward O’Grady’s Catch Me and the Paul Nicholls-trained Silverburn.

Jonjo O’Neill’s Wichita Lineman has been left in, but his main objective is reportedly the Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle over three miles.

A fundraiser for the Cork and Waterford Injured jockey’s fund takes place tonight in The Winner’s Enclosure pub in Conna at 8.30pm.

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