Silver way ahead for Mullins
Willie Mullins sees Golden Silver as the pick of his trio in an excellent renewal of the O'Connell Group Hilly Way Chase at Cork on Sunday - if the course passes an inspection scheduled for 3pm on Saturday.
The eight-year-old signed off the last campaign with a Grade One victory at Punchestown and beat all bar Champion Chase hero Big Zeb on his return to action at Navan.
Mullins also saddles Scotsirish and Grade One-winning novice Kempes in the two-mile contest, but admits he has been forced to run that pair due to a lack of opportunities.
He said: "Golden Silver will like the track and will love the ground, as long as it thaws out. We're just finding it hard to get opportunities for the other two and we need to get a run under their belts.
"We've been able to keep the horses ticking over at home all right, but Kempes might need it a bit because it's his first run of the season. The trip might be a bit short for him as well.
"Scotsirish will like the track, too, but the ground might just be too soft for him."
Mullins is keeping his fingers crossed conditions are not too testing for Blazing Tempo when she lines up in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Lombardstown Mares Novice Chase.
He went on: "She's in good form and I think she'll like the trip. I'm not so sure she'll like the real heavy ground, but hopefully she'll handle it all right."
Turf Club officials will stage a Saturday inspection as the chase course is currently frozen, while the hurdle and bumper track is also frozen in places.
Press officer Cliff Noone said: "The forecast is good and temperatures are set to rise, but they are obviously a bit concerned with the track currently frozen in places. They just want to make sure that everything is in order, but they're positive enough."