Irish National runner-up going for Gold at Sandown

Willie Mullins has had a tremendously successful Punchestown Festival and holds strong claims in a number of races this afternoon, but the champion trainer will have one eye on Sandown this afternoon when Away We Go takes in the bet365 Gold Cup.

Irish National runner-up going for Gold at Sandown

Runner-up to Liberty Counsel in the Irish National last time out, stamina is clearly no issue.

Mullins can see also quicker ground posing no problem, but has some doubts about the race coming too soon after his Fairyhouse exertions.

He travelled over well and is doing everything right,” said Mullins, who has booked Declan Lavery, who takes off 7lb, for the ride.

“Although his pedigree suggests he wants soft ground, I think he’ll handle faster ground all right.

“Declan Lavery travels over to ride him and takes a handy 7lb off his back. He’s going there off the back of a great run. I just hope it isn’t coming too soon.”

Noel Meade does not saddle too many runners on British soil outside of the big festivals but sends an interesting participant in Muirhead.

“We’ve always been of the opinion he’s a better horse on better ground, which is why we’re going to Sandown instead of running at Punchestown on the same day,” said Meade.

“He ran a good race in the Irish National, coming from a long way back.

“He seems in terrific form since, which is why we’re keen to give it a go.

“Davy Condon is going over to ride him, he knows him well, and we’re hoping he’ll run very well.”

Joining Muirhead on the trip across the Irish Sea is Noel Glynn’s stable star Becauseicouldntsee.

He failed to get competitive in the Grand National at Aintree, but previously ran well to finish fifth in the Kim Muir.

Glynn said: “He got a bad fall in Aintree two years ago and he hates it there now. He never attacked any of the fences compared to Cheltenham where he does really attack them.

“Hopefully he will do the same at Sandown.

“He’s been fine since Aintree. We could have run him the following day because he didn’t try a yard.

“He came back good. He ate up and drank up and we’ll be hoping for a good run.”

On the day he will be officially crowned British champion trainer for the first time since 1987, Nicky Henderson is represented in the feature event by Hadrian’s Approach.

The six-year-old has been placed at Grade One level in novice company twice this season, most recently finishing third in Cheltenham’s RSA Chase.

Henderson said: “He’s in good form and has done quite a bit of schooling. It would be a good way to finish the season.

“I don’t think I’ve won the race since Brown Windsor (1989) and I thought it would be a nice race for him.”

Mr Moss finished a close second in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster in early March and Welsh handler Evan Williams believes he could take his game to another level if he brushes up his jumping.

Williams said: “I wanted to go to the Scottish National and I wish I had done as the ground turned out beautiful up there.

“I regret not declaring him for that, but there you are.

“It’s a good job we had him in at Sandown and that’s where we will head.

“My target was the Grimthorpe and I thought the race would suit him. He ran a great race there and I can’t help but think if we can sort his jumping out and be a bit more street-wise in these handicaps, then there is more room for improvement in this horse.

“He’s got a lot of talent, but the fences can get in his way at times.”

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