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Saturday 3 December 2016

Arctic to fire at NATIONAL

WILLIE MULLINS will send a bigger team than usual to the Aintree Grand National meeting this weekend beginning with Champion Hurdle runner-up Arctic Fire tomorrow.

Un De Sceaux is also set to make the journey to Liverpool, flanked by Nichols Canyon, his sole National runner Ballycasey and a couple of bumper runners amongst others but the champion trainer decided yesterday morning against sending Hurricane Fly for tomorrow's 2m4f Aintree Hurdle where Arctic Fire will now face six-rivals.

GREAT ORDER

Speaking at Fairyhouse yesterday Mullins said: "Arctic Fire is in great order. When I had a look at it this morning I said I wanted to keep Hurricane Fly for Punchestown - he's always good there."

Ruby Walsh will be aboard Arctic Fire for the first time this season after his creditable efforts behind Hurricane Fly in Ireland and then Faugheen at Cheltenham and the trainer admitted: "I still can't see a rib on Arctic Fire. He's an extraordinary horse to do what he has done this season and I still think there's an awful lot of improvement in him."

Champagne Fever who missed the Cheltenham Festival despite being over there due to an unfortunate accident with another horse, will run in Friday's Betfred Melling Chase.

"Champagne Fever is good and I'm looking forward to running him. I think it'll be a bonus skipping Cheltenham as he'll be the fresh horse."

Of Ballycasey he said: "He worked well this morning and could be coming back to form like a few of mine have such as Twinlight today."

Un De Sceaux is set to be one of the highlights of the meeting as he is all set to take his chance in the Maghull Novices' Chase on Saturday and regarding targeting more horses at Aintree this year he concluded: "The timing of the meeting means that we are getting a good bit of time between Cheltenham and before Punchestown so it's probably the one time that we have a chance of running in the three festivals."

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