Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Mullins aims for World domination

So Young

Willie Mullins has five horses among 18 confirmed for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham next week.

Ireland's champion trainer has left in Back In Focus, Fiveforthree, So Young, Zaidpour and Quevega, although the latter is on course to tackle the OLBG Mares' Hurdle earlier in the week.

Also among the confirmations are the Charles Byrnes-trained Solwhit and Tony Martin's smart nine-year-old Bog Warrior.

The list is headed by Nick Williams' Reve De Sivola and the Nicky Henderson-trained Oscar Whisky, while the latter's stablemate Oscara Dara could also take part.

Paul Nicholls is favouring the race for Coral Cup favourite Wonderful Charm, who was a hugely impressive winner on his British debut in the Persian War Novices' Hurdle at Chepstow in October.

Speaking in his Betfair column, the trainer said: "We have given it a lot of thought and if the ground stays dry from Monday onwards, it is now highly likely - but not definite - that Wonderful Charm will take his chance in the World Hurdle.

"I think the horse could just be up to running a big race. We just don't know how good he is, as he hasn't been able to tell us on the racecourse yet. My instincts tell me he is very good."

Eleven horses have stood their ground for the Ryanair Chase and they include Sizing Europe, although Henry de Bromhead has an alternative in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

The Mouse Morris-trained First Lieutenant is another potentially strong contender from Ireland, if he takes up the engagement instead of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The home team is headed by Cue Card, who is heading for the race as Colin Tizzard in keen to avoid Sprinter Sacre. The trainer said: "He's in brilliant form. He'll stay in the Champion Chase in case something went wrong with Sprinter Sacre."

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