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Willie Mullins bids to maintain Un De Sceaux momentum at Gowran

Updated: Sunday, 16 Feb 2014 17:33 | Comments

Un De Sceaux was in impressive form at Thurles in December
Un De Sceaux was in impressive form at Thurles in December

Willie Mullins' Un De Sceaux attempts to maintain his unbeaten record in the Red Mill Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park today.

The going is heavy after persistent rain but the meeting is still on after a successful course inspection on Saturday morning.

The six-year-old burst on to the scene at the end of last season, beating some useful rivals hollow at the Punchestown Festival.

Un De Sceaux has looked extremely impressive in two races this year, but his critics point to the fact that he only defeated two runners at Thurles and at Navan.

He will only face three rivals on Saturday - stable companion Midnight Game, Chicago and The Four Elms.

While the Champion Hurdle would represent a huge step up in class, Mullins is content to keep picking up races along the way.

"Running on ground that is going to be this heavy is always a worry but he appears to handle it well," said the County Carlow handler. "If he runs to anything like his previous form then you'd think he could win.

"I'm not worried at all that if he runs at Cheltenham he will not have faced a tough test, I'm quite happy building him up step by step. I'm quite happy building up gradually and keeping him happy."

The Red Mills Chase has attracted five runners and sees the return to action of Bog Warrior.

The classy Tony Martin-trained 10-year-old hasn't been seen since injuring himself in the World Hurdle 11 months ago, while Aupcharlie has been absent since falling at the Punchestown Festival, so they are unlikely to be as sharp as Turban, Rathlin and Argocat.

Mullins unleashes yet another Gallic recruit in the Shantou At Burgage Stud Maiden in the shape of Florishwells D'Ete, with Ruby Walsh seemingly preferring her to the previous jumping experience of stable companion Wood Breizh.

Sizing Machine had his limitations ruthlessly exposed in the Grade Two Craddockstown Novice Chase won by Felix Yonger, and Henry de Bromhead hands him a more realistic assignment in the Holden Plants Rentals Careys Cottage Cup Handicap Chase.

Might Be Magic was a well-beaten third when burdened with the favourite's tag at Naas last week, but makes a swift return to action for the Treacy Hotel Group Handicap Hurdle, where Danequest and Federici are possibly his biggest dangers.

The action gets under way at 1.50 with the Join Us On Saturday 8th March For Kilkenny G.A.A. Day Beginners Chase, and Leavethelighton switches to the bigger obstacles on the back of three near-misses.

Perfect Promise has also hit the crossbar a couple of times and attempts to put that right in the Ronan Lawlor Memorial Mares (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race.

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