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Wednesday 17 January 2018

Willie scoops Wylie seven

Willie Mullins said he is "delighted" after learning that he will be the recipient of seven of 20 horses Graham Wylie plans to keep in training.

The move comes after the four-year ban from the sport imposed on Wylie's principal trainer, Howard Johnson, who subsequently announced his retirement, with the other 13 horses going to British Champion trainer Paul Nicholls.

It is the first time Wylie will have horses trained in Ireland, with the exciting Back In Focus among those to join Mullins in Co Carlow. "I'm going down to 20 horses and I will only have two trainers. I'll have the best in the UK, which is Paul Nicholls, and the best in Ireland, which is Willie Mullins," Wylie said.

"Paul will have 13 of the horses and Willie will train seven.

"Willie is going to have Back In Focus, Boston Bob, Felix Yonger, On His Own, Prince De Beauchene, Drive Time and Rupert Lamb."

Mullins was naturally delighted with the news. "I'm delighted to have been considered and I'm hoping I have as much luck for Mr Wylie as Howard Johnson had for him," he said.

"Mr Wylie told me which horses were coming over this morning and I recognise most of them.

"There seems to be some good quality there, which is great.

"I haven't seen any of them yet so we'll get them over in the next week or so and see how they get on before we make any plans."

Aintree will make changes to three of the Grand National fences following a substantial review into the iconic race.

The deaths of two horses in this year's renewal led to huge criticism of the National. The landing side of Becher's Brook is again to be re-profiled, reducing the drop from the take-off side of the obstacle from between four and five inches.

Aintree's managing director Julian Thick said: "The review was carried out due to a series of factors and the measures are based on a big, thorough study."

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