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Footpad to sidestep Gold Cup for Aintree, Mullins confirms

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By Martin Kelly

Willie Mullins has said Footpad is likely to head for Aintree after being taken out of the Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse.

The six-year-old extended his unbeaten record over fences to four with a brilliant display in the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham earlier this month and was in contention to make a swift reappearance in the Grade One feature on Easter Sunday.

However, he did not appear among the confirmations yesterday lunchtime and is instead poised to head to Merseyside next month.

He is set to have the option of running in either the two-and-a-half-mile Manifesto Novices' Chase on April 12 or the Maghull Novices' Chase over two miles on Grand National day on April 14.

Mullins said: "He is likely to go to Aintree. He'll probably be entered in the two races but I would imagine it will be the two-mile race."

Despite Footpad's absence, Mullins was responsible for eight of the 15 horses in the Ryanair Gold Cup.

The champion trainer's contenders include Al Boum Photo, Invitation Only and course winners Kemboy and Saturnas.

A five-strong team for Gordon Elliott includes Cheltenham Festival winners Shattered Love and The Storyteller.

Shattered Love won the JLT Novices' Chase at Prestbury Park, while The Storyteller landed the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate. Tombstone, Tycoon Prince and Dinaria Des Obeaux are the other Elliott hopefuls.

All of Elliott's contenders, bar The Storyteller, carry the colours of Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud. The Mullins-trained Laurina is the star name among 14 possible runners in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final.

The five-year-old was a winner of the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

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