Willie Mullins is on the brink of title glory

Willie Mullins, Dan Skelton and Paul Nicholls latest runners in run-in to National Hunt season

Willie Mullins moved almost £180,000 clear at the top of the British jumps trainers’ championship last Saturday, and looks sure to collect the trophy this weekend. Here we map out the day’s runners for the Irish maestro, and nearest rivals Dan Skelton and Paul Nicholls, as the title run-in moves onto Perth and Chepstow...


Trainers' title running totals: (Start of play Saturday)

  • Willie Mullins: £3,116,171
  • Dan Skelton: £2,934,539
  • Paul Nicholls: £2,863,622

Willie Mullins

14:25 Easy Game

Timeform verdict: Prolific winning chaser who was back on song after his Galway Plate flop when landing Grade 2 PWC Champion Chase (for a third time) at Gowran (20f) 6 months ago. Ran no sort of race in the Melling Chase at Aintree on first run since 2 weeks ago but very much the type to bounce back. Headgear fitted.

15:00 El Fabiolo

Timeform verdict: Impressive winner of 3 Grade 1s during his novice chase campaign last season, which includes a 5½-length beating of Jonbon in the Arkle. Fluffed his lines for the first time over fences when pulled up after a bad mistake in the Champion Chase last month but, otherwise, he is hard to fault.

15:35 Aime Desjy

Timeform verdict: Has taken well to chasing and readily landed the odds in novice at Gowran (20f) last month. Emerged with plenty of credit when fifth in Topham Chase at Aintree (21.1f) latest but this much longer trip is new territory for him.

15:35 Minella Cocooner

Timeform verdict: Smart winner at 22f over hurdles (second in the 2022 Albert Bartlett) who posted his best effort in this sphere when third of 20 in Irish National (29.1f, heavy) at Fairyhouse earlier this month. Faces different conditions here but is unexposed over staying trips and must enter calculations.

15:35 Nick Rockett

Timeform verdict: Developed into a smart novice hurdler last spring and has taken well to fences on return, winning Fairyhouse maiden before good second in Navan Grade 3 (24f) in February. May have found testing conditions against him when seventh in Irish National latest and remains open to improvement.

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16:10 Impaire Et Passe

Timeform verdict: High-class hurdler who belatedly opened his account for the season when edging out Bob Olinger in a contentious finish at Aintree earlier in the month. Fortunate to get the better of Langer Dan there, but still boasts excellent claims.

16:10 Sir Gerhard

Timeform verdict: Leading novice hurdler of 2021/22 campaign and a smart novice chaser last term. Positive return to the smaller obstacles this season and had plenty in hand when landing a minor event at Cork last time. Definite player.

17:20 Gold Dancer

Timeform verdict: Successful on second outing in France and stepped up on his previous outing for the yard when fourth of 11 in Easter Festival Novices' Hurdle at Fairyhouse (20f, heavy) 27 days ago. Into handicaps now from a stiff-looking mark but remains capable of better.

17:20 Sa Majeste

Timeform verdict: Off the mark on second outing in France for Y. Fouin and got back on the up after 8 months off when beating former Grand National winner Noble Yeats at Limerick (20f) in December. Not in same form in Coral Cup at Cheltenham Festival 11 weeks later but he should have learnt from the experience.

Dan Skelton

13:50 Be Aware

Timeform verdict: Brother to connections' useful hurdler/chaser Lac de Constance and looked good when making a successful start in a 16-runner novice at Newbury in January. Better form when runner-up at Lingfield and Kempton since and could easily be more to come in handicaps.

13:50 Goonhilly

Timeform verdict: Yet to win but runner-up 3 times in maiden/novice company this winter, including in cheekpieces (retained) on latest start. Also didn't acquit himself too badly when around 15 lengths sixth of 16 in Imperial Cup over C&D last month. Harry Skelton on yard's other runner.

15:00 Nube Negra

Timeform verdict: Very smart chaser on his day but hasn't been at his best this season, comprehensively outpointed by several of these rivals already. Likely to come up short once more, unless the first-time cheekpieces have a dramatically positive effect


15:35 Le Milos

Timeform verdict: Big improver over fences for this yard last season, including victory in the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury. Not really threatened in 3 starts over hurdles this term but looks nicely treated, returned to the larger obstacles, and is a big player.

16:10 Langer Dan

Timeform verdict: High-class hurdler who belatedly opened his account for the season when edging out Bob Olinger in a contentious finish at Aintree earlier in the month. Fortunate to get the better of Langer Dan there, but still boasts excellent claims.

Paul Nicholls

13:50 Fire Flyer

Timeform verdict: Fairly useful bumper scorer who novice hurdles at Wincanton (2m, soft) and Taunton (19f, good to soft) in February. Folded tamely in the EBF Final over 2½m here last month but no surprise were he to bounce back to form with a bang for a top yard seeking a third win in this since 2019.

13:50 Panjari

Timeform verdict: Useful on Flat in Germany and has been quick in getting the hang of hurdling, winning a third 2m novice hurdles at Ffos Las 11 days ago. A lot more will be needed under top weight here but his top stable's good record in this makes him a dangerous one to discount.

14:25 Hitman

Timeform verdict: Ran poorly in top-end handicaps on first 2 outings this term but back on form when 4¼ lengths second of 5 to Shishkin in Grade 2 Denman at Newbury (3m, soft). Struggled in the Ryanair at Cheltenham since but expected to bounce back on these terms in a change of headgear.

15:35 Enrilo

Timeform verdict: Smart at his peak (first past the post in 2021 renewal of this event) and posted best effort for a while when chasing home emphatic winner Inis Oirr in the Edinburgh National at Musselburgh (31.4f) in February. Posted another solid effort at Taunton latest but Harry Cobden prefers Threeunderthrufive.

15:35 Flash Collonges

Timeform verdict: Got off the mark in this sphere at Newbury last term and still in touch when falling 19th in Scottish Grand National at Ayr following month. Lightly raced and disappointing since, though, and is now tried in blinkers.

15:35 Threeunderthrufive

Timeform verdict: Dual Grade 2 winner as a novice who posted a couple of solid efforts in defeat before returning to winning ways at Ascot (23.8f, good to soft) in February. Finds himself on career-high mark now but ought to be in the shake-up again.

16:10 Blueking D'oroux

Timeform verdict: Returned with a cosy success in 2m novice at Cheltenham in October and posted a borderline smart effort when following up in a relatively weak field for the Coral Hurdle at Ascot. Creditable fifth in Long Walk there last time but has something to find.

16:45 Golden Son

Timeform verdict: Got off the mark for current yard at Kempton in February but only sixth of 7 in handicap chase at this C&D (good to soft) 49 days ago, never travelling well. Blinkers replace cheekpieces with more needed.

16:45 Outlaw Peter

Timeform verdict: Is going the right way over fences and has landed 2m4f handicaps at Kempton and Ayr of late. Up 4 lb but holds good claims in his hat-trick bid.

17:20 Emailandy

Timeform verdict: Has developed into a useful novice, building on his fourth in the EBF Final when resuming winning ways in 9-runner handicap at Plumpton (20.5f, good to soft) 27 days ago, finding extra. Up 5 lb and warrants respect.

17:20 Red Risk

Timeform verdict: Won twice back hurdling in 2022 and good second to Botox Has in the West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby in November. However, he was a well-held fourth behind the same rival in a Haydock Grade 2 and fared little better back in a competitive handicap at Aintree 2 weeks ago.

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