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Willie Mullins runs six in Scottish National as Championship hunt intensifies

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Willie Mullins will saddle six runners in the the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr on Saturday as he looks to extend his lead in the race to be crowned champion trainer in Britain.

The Grand National success of I Am Maximus at Aintree saw Mullins sweep past perennial champion Paul Nicholls and his former pupil Dan Skelton and he is now a hot favourite to become the first Irish-based trainer to claim the British title since Vincent O’Brien did so in successive seasons in the 1950s.

The Closutton handler is represented in each of the eight races on Saturday’s Ayr card and is responsible for six of the 26 declared for the £200,000 feature.

The trainer’s two leading contenders appear to be recent Fairyhouse scorer Macdermott and Mr Incredible, who turns out just seven days after unseating his rider at The Chair. Ontheropes, Spanish Harlem, Klarc Kent and We’llhavewan complete the sextet.

Mullins is unlikely to have things all his own way, however, with Nicholls represented by the high-class top-weight Stay Away Fay and Broken Halo, while Skelton will be hoping Ballygrifincottage can put him back on top of the table.

Brian Ellison’s Eider Chase winner Anglers Crag and the Jamie Snowden-trained Git Maker also feature.

The title-chasing trio all fire major bullets at the £100,000 Coral Scottish Champion Hurdle, with Mullins running Westport Cove, Bialystok and Alvaniy, Nicholls saddling last year’s winner Rubaud and his stablemate and Afadil with Skelton relying upon County Hurdle runner-up L’Eau du Sud.

Also among a total of 18 runners on the afternoon for Mullins are Uncle Phil in the opening Scotty Brand Handicap Chase, popular veteran Sharjah in the CPMS Novices’ Champion Handicap Chase and impressive Punchestown winner Billericay Dickie in the Tennent’s Novices’ Hurdle.


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