Mullins plans Haydock and Ascot raids

Willie Mullins appears to be preparing another assault on this weekend’s British action with entries at both of the principal Saturday meetings at Ascot and Haydock.

Ireland’s champion trainer stated his intentions at the start of the campaign to send more of his horses on their travels and has been as good as his word, saddling runners at Aintree, Ascot, Cheltenham, Kempton, Newbury and Warwick this term.

While he will not be represented in the showpiece Sodexo Clarence House Chase at Ascot, Mullins has made entries in other races on the card, with Supreme Carolina in both the Mares’ Hurdle and the Keltbray Holloway’s Hurdle.

Mullins also has Clonard Lad and Marito engaged in the latter event, in which David Pipe could saddle exciting French recruit Un Temps Pour Tout, although he has alternative entries at Taunton and Haydock.

Paul Nicholls’ Triumph Hurdle favourite Calipto is among the potential starters in the Ascot Racecourse Juvenile Hurdle.

Ascot’s clerk of the course Chris Stickels said: “I haven’t spoken to Willie yet, but he supported us at our last meeting and hopefully will again.

“The Clarence House Chase looks good with Sire De Grugy and Somersby in there, as well as a couple of Irish horses.

“The ground is soft at the moment and there is quite an unsettled forecast, but nothing of any great concern.”

Mullins has entries in two of the feature events at Haydock.

Marito and Blood Cotil have an option in the Champion Hurdle Trial, while Valseur Lido, Sure Reef and Sizing Tennessee are among the 13 entries for the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle.

Turban is a fifth Haydock entry for the master of Closutton in the Golborne Graduation Chase.

Also possibly bound for the Champion Hurdle Trial is Jeremy Scott’s stable star Melodic Rendezvous, who disappointed in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle last time out.

“We’ll have a look at it. He’s probably a little bit short of where we’d like him to be, but he seems to have got over his injury,” Scott told At The Races.

“He may just lack for a little bit of fitness, but there is plenty of time and it would be nice to get a run into him now and another one in February and we’ll see where we are in March.”

The Peter Marsh Chase has attracted 20 entries, with the weights currently headed by Gary Moore’s Future Stars Chase winner Vino Griego.

The Venetia Williams-trained Katenko and Kim Bailey’s Harry Topper are also in contention, with Nicholls’ long-absent chaser The Minack another interesting contender for the three-mile-one-furlong Grade Two.

Haydock’s clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright is keeping his fingers crossed the weather is kind, with no problems currently expected.

He said: “It’s going to get a bit colder towards the end of the week, but provided the forecast is correct, hopefully it’s nothing for us to worry about too much.

“It’s exciting to think Willie Mullins might send some of his horses here. I haven’t spoken to him yet, I might do later in the week, but at the end of the day he’ll make his own mind up.”

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