Benie Des Dieux is set to be targeted towards the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle again, according to trainer Willie Mullins.
The seen-year-old was twice a winner over fences last season before making a successful switch back to hurdles to win the Cheltenham Festival prize, before following up at Punchestown.
Mullins believes the world is Benie Des Dieux’s oyster – but anticipates a Festival defence in the spring.
He said: “Benie could do anything. She is a fantastic jumper. We would love to go chasing with her, but what I want to do is keep her for the mares’ hurdles. I think she might mix it a little bit.
“We kept her sound all last year and I think she is probably easier to keep sound over hurdles.
“The Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham would, in my view at the moment, be her aim, unless something changes in the meantime.”
Limini is another who is likely to stick to mares’ events after running well on the Flat through the summer.
Mullins said: “I think she will probably stick to mares’ races for the season.”
Laurina emerged as a star among the mares’ novice division last term, winning at Cheltenham and Punchestown, and Mullins confirmed she will cross swords with the geldings this term.
However, the trainer would not be afraid to switch back to mares’ company should her campaign not go as planned.
He said: “The Champion Hurdle is the route we are going to go with her. She might start off in the race at Ascot (the Coral Hurdle) that Annie Power won.
“That’s half a plan for us at the moment, and then go down the Champion Hurdle route. If not she will come back for the Mares’ Hurdle.”