Willie Mullins eyeing Champion Chase at Down Royal for Kemboy's seasonal reappearance

Ruby Walsh rides Kemboy to victory
Ruby Walsh rides Kemboy to victory

Willie Mullins is leaning towards letting Kemboy make his reappearance in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal.

The seven-year-old made remarkable progress last season, with victories in the Clonmel Oil and Savills Chase at Leopardstown during the first half of the campaign earning him a shot at the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

He unseated his rider shortly after the first fence at Prestbury Park, but bounced back with a dominant display at Aintree before defeating his Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning stablemate Al Boum Photo at Punchestown under the retiring Ruby Walsh.

Kemboy is a best-priced 6-1 favourite to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the second attempt, and Mullins hopes to see him return to action in Northern Ireland on November 2.

He said: "We've put him in the race at Down Royal and we will see how he is working. It is so far so good and I'm very happy with what he is doing at home.

"At the moment we are heading towards Down Royal. I think he will handle the track up there and the ground. I was primarily thinking of the ground for him. I know the ground can get quite soft up there, but more often than not the ground is good.

"I didn't want to enter any other horses for the race and rush them to it. This fellow comes right a bit quicker and it is a nice race to aim him at."

Plans are more fluid for Al Boum Photo, while Mullins is still pondering where and when to bring Klassical Dream back to action.

The latter won each of his four starts last season - including the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham - and he is a clear favourite to provide his trainer with a fifth Champion Hurdle success next March.

"Al Boum Photo is good and I'm very happy with the progress he is making," said Mullins.

"I don't really know where I will start him. I want to get some good cut in the ground and real winter weather before I start him off. I just want to keep him training and make a plan when the right opportunity arises.

"Klassical Dream might go to Down Royal (WKD Hurdle), but I would say that the Morgiana in Punchestown is more likely where we will start him off.

"He has been very good at home."

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