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Thursday 29 September 2016

It's D-Day for Mullins

Willie's campaign to secure British title for first time could come down to one race

Sprinter Sacre (pictured) will take on Un De Sceaux again at Sandown tomorrow ©Cranhamphoto.com
Sprinter Sacre (pictured) will take on Un De Sceaux again at Sandown tomorrow ©Cranhamphoto.com

After a bit of shadow boxing in midweek, the British Trainers' Championship will conclude at Sandown tomorrow with Willie Mullins sending over a formidable team as he bids to snare the title out of the grasp of Paul Nicholls.

Mullins is on the backfoot going into tomorrow's racing. His mission at Perth could hardly have gone much better but Nicholls was still chipping away at other meetings around the country so now it comes down to the final day of the British season, with Mullins trailing by over £50,000.

The Bet365 Celebration Chase is the main dish on the card with the rematch between Sprinter Sacre and Un De Sceaux here.

If Un De Sceaux can give his trainer a £71,187 boost to the coffers it would have a massive bearing on the final outcome. However, with the ground set to be good at Sandown, there seems to be little reason why Un De Secaux will be able to turn the tables with Sprinter Sacre, who is a best priced 1/1 with BoyleSports.

Ruby Walsh is absent but he did say yesterday: "Un De Sceaux didn't given his true running at Cheltenham, for whatever reason. Maybe the ground was a little quick, maybe he didn't like being taken on for the lead by Special Tiara. I'd expect a better show from him this time."

Those comments aren't to be easily overlooked but Sprinter Sacre gets the nod in what promises to be a classic.

Ultimately, Mullins has a good a chance of picking up at least £26,000 for second place here and that'll be a huge help.

Both trainers have strong hands early on the card but in Voix Du Reve some compensation for his final flight fall in the Fred Winter may be obtained. The Oakesy Chase is over 2m6f and if Vautour goes here he'll be a very short-priced favourite but if Ireland's champion trainer relies on Valseur Lido the short trip might just be questionable for him.

Al Ferof is not getting any younger but has been running to a consistent level this season for Dan Skelton and the in-form trainer might be able to bag a memorable win here, which would do his old boss Paul Nicholls no harm at all.

Ultimately, the trainers' crown could come down to the Bet365 Gold Cup which is worth £150,000.

The winner and placed horses here will be vital but the selection goes to neither Mullins or Nicholls as O'Faolains Boy is picked to outrun his odds of 20/1.

Well beaten in the Gold Cup at the finish, he still ran well for long stages and is taking a massive drop in class here.

I wouldn't be having a major bet on him but at 20/1 he's worth an each-way punt.

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