Willie Mullins has raised a doubt about his Racing Post Arkle hopeful Cilaos Emery making it to the Cheltenham Festival.
The seven-year-old, impressive on his only start over fences to date, subsequently pulled a muscle when schooling.
As a result, Mullins predicts the next seven days will have a huge bearing over whether he makes it to Cheltenham or not.
“He pulled a muscle schooling in Navan the other day. That’s why you didn’t see him this morning,” Mullins told assembled press at his yard.
“We’ll have to wait and see how he’s going to come out of it. If he doesn’t come out of it in the next seven days, then I think we might have to draw stumps for Cheltenham.
“That’s a disappointment, but when you school them you take your chance.”
Yard favourite Un De Sceaux skipped a second clash this season with Altior recently, but Mullins is delighted with his current well-being.
“He just hasn’t had the ground he wants this season – and probably needs, as he gets older,” he said.
“He has the same enthusiasm that he’s always had. He’s in particularly good form this week. He did a bit of work yesterday, and it was probably the best bit of work he’s done all year.
“He just seems to be coming right at the right time again.
“If the ground came up very heavy, and some horses didn’t turn up in other races, then who knows – but I would imagine it will be the Ryanair for him.”
Footpad and Min have had differing fortunes this season, with the former yet to win while the latter has two Grade Ones to his credit. Where they end up next month has still to be decided.
Mullins said: “Footpad schooled very well the other day in Navan – he schooled a lot more like the old Footpad from last year. I hope that’s a sign that he’s starting to find his form.
“I don’t think he’d have any problem stepping up in trip, but we’ll see where we are nearer the time.
“It has been a frustrating season with him. He’s had two over-reaches, but we schooled him the other day with no back shoes on, and I was very happy with that.
“I’ve left the back shoes off since his last run, so that’s an option. You don’t need them.”
“Min could go Champion Chase or Ryanair, and I’m going to leave that decision until much closer to the time.
“Obviously Altior is the one to beat in the Champion Chase if he turns up on the day. Things can happen, and horses might not turn up.
“We’ll have one if not two to take him on. You can’t be afraid of one horse.
“We’ll keep him straight if nothing else!
“Where Min goes will depend on what everyone else is doing, what the ground is like and what Ruby (Walsh) wants to ride. There’ll be a lot of different things we’ll take into consideration.”