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Fly to duck Aintree challenge

Willie Mullins will rely upon Arctic Fire in the Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle on Thursday after deciding against running Hurricane Fly.

The pair finished second and third respectively behind brilliant stable companion Faugheen in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last month.

Mullins had considered letting the duo lock horns once more on Merseyside, but has had a change of heart.

He said: "I was just happier to run Arctic Fire on his own. Hurricane Fly will go to Punchestown."

Arctic Fire stars in a seven-runner field and is joined on the trip from Ireland by the Jessica Harrington-trained Jezki, who won last year's Champion Hurdle but was only fourth in this season's renewal.

Rock On Ruby is a major threat for Harry Fry, having missed the Cheltenham Festival due to a late setback, while Nicky Henderson saddles Vaniteux and Volnay De Thaix.

The Dan Skelton-trained Blue Heron and Melodic Rendezvous from Jeremy Scott's yard complete the line-up.

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