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Perth one-two for title-chasing Willie Mullins

Willie Mullins clawed back a fraction of the deficit in the battle for the British trainers' championship by saddling the first two home in the British Stallions Future Champions EBF "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle at Perth.

Though Paul Nicholls also secured a winner on the day, when All Set To Go obliged at Taunton, Mullins was marginally on top for the day after he added £14,587 to the kitty.

The Closutton maestro held a commanding lead over Nicholls prior to last weekend, but it has been one-way traffic since.

But Mullins was back in the game in Scotland and enjoyed a perfect result, with Up For Review leading home stable companion Nambour.

Up For Review was the 5-1 outsider of four runners, having disappointed on his last few starts, but bounced back to form under a well-judged front-running ride from Paul Townend.

Mullins now trails Nicholls by over £43,200 after All Set To Go (4-5 favourite) hit the target in the Bathwick Tyres Yeovil Novices' Hurdle, earning £4,873 in the process.

The Ditcheat handler suffered a surprising reverse 35 minutes earlier, though, as 4-11 favourite Antartica De Thaix could only pocket £1,431 by finishing second to Rejaah in the Bathwick Tyres Bath Mares´ Novices´ Hurdle.

Mullins, who is looking to become the first Irish-based trainer to claim the British title since the legendary Vincent O'Brien in the 1950s, is doubly represented on the second day of Perth's three-day fixture on Thursday.

French recruit Townshend has let down favourite-backers on each of his two starts for Mullins to date at Fairyhouse and Kempton. Connections will be hoping he can bounce back in the opening Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer Novices' Hurdle.

Later in the afternoon, Mullins runs Tennis Cap in the more valuable Lindsays Handicap Chase. Run for the Kilmany Challenge Cup, the two-and-a-half-mile contest carries a total prize fund of £25,000 and Tennis Cap appears to have solid claims judged on a recent victory over hurdles at Cork.

Nicholls is not represented in Scotland, but saddles 10 runners across the two cards at Exeter and Warwick.


From Belfast Telegraph