Sempre Medici is expected to enhance Willie Mullins’ excellent recent record in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park on Saturday.
The all-conquering Mullins has saddled three of the last four winners of this Grade Two event at his local track and Sempre Medici will be a warm order to give weight and a beating to four rivals in the hands of Ruby Walsh.
The six-year-old ran a fantastic race to fill the runner-up spot in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham on his penultimate start and comfortably landed prohibitive odds in the Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas last month.
The trainer’s son and assistant Patrick Mullins expects him to follow up, but respects the Henry de Bromhead-trained Sizing Tennessee, a former inmate at Closutton.
“It looks a very good opportunity. He’s well clear on ratings and you’d be disappointed if he didn’t win,” said Mullins.
“Having said that, we used to have Sizing Tennessee and he’s a horse we always thought was very good.
“He ran in the Champion Bumper for us and we thought he’d be well up to running at Grade Two level, so he’d be the one I’ll keeping an eye on.”
Sizing Tennessee opened his account for his new trainer when edging out subsequent chase winner Bright New Dawn over hurdles at Navan last month.
Davy Russell takes over in the saddle from the sidelined Jonathan Burke.
“Sempre Medici is obviously rated a lot higher than us, but we were delighted with our horse the last day,” said De Bromhead.
“This is a step up in class for him and it will tell us which way we’re heading.”
The Shay Barry-trained Bentelimar, Pat Shanahan’s King Of The Picts and Rory O’Moore from Ronnie O’Neill’s stable complete the field.
Irish-born Murphy took a fall at Southwell on Wednesday when the fatally-injured Vivacissimo slipped up on the bend.
The jockey then took his next mount on Andrew Balding’s odds-on favourite Mystic Blaze but was beaten into second.
Balding said: “He broke his collar bone when he had the fall and will be out for three or four weeks.
“He took the ride after it and rode through the pain but then took himself off to hospital. I think they said he had snapped his clavicle.”
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