Arkle winner Duc to skip Aintree

Mullins novice to wait for Punchestown

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Willie Mullins is finalising his Aintree team – but one who will not be making the journey is Arkle winner Duc Des Genievres.

The six-year-old grey sauntered to victory at the Cheltenham Festival, surprising even his trainer with the ease of his win.

However, Mullins feels the Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase on Saturday will come too soon for him and instead will wait for Punchestown.

Aramon, sixth to stablemate Klassical Dream in the Supreme, is in the mix for Friday’s Top Novices’ Hurdle.

“Aramon might run in the two-mile novice hurdle, but Duc Des Genievres had a hard race at Cheltenham and will wait for Punchestown,” said Mullins.

Ireland’s champion trainer wants to run all three of his entries in the Aintree Hurdle, ground permitting.

Former champion hurdler Faugheen will drop to two and a half miles after finishing third in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, while dual Champion Hurdle runner-up Melon will step up in trip.

The only possible doubt is over Benie Des Dieux, who fell at Cheltenham with the mares’ race at her mercy.

“The Aintree Hurdle is nicely timed before Punchestown – and Melon, Faugheen and Benie Des Dieux are well and ready to run,” said Mullins.

“The trip is what Melon wants, and Faugheen will have no problems at the trip also – but if the ground dries up, that would be the only question mark in running Benie Des Dieux.”

Mullins also expects to run four in Saturday’s Randox Health Grand National – last year’s second, Pleasant Company, Rathvinden, Pairofbrowneyes and Up For Review – along with two in the Topham on Friday.

“Cadmium and Polidam will both run in the Topham, and all my National horses will run,” he said.

Arkle winner Duc to skip Aintree
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