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Cheltenham countdown: Willie Mullins looking to Champion Hurdle with Yorkhill

Mon 26 Feb 2018

Yorkhill could take his chance in the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on March 13.

With two Festival wins under his belt, some marked him out as a potential Gold Cup horse, but he has looked a shadow of his former self in two runs over fences this season.

Trainer Willie Mullins said: "He's not a great work horse. He's very lazy, which you wouldn't believe when you see him on a race track. I always thought he'd be a Champion Hurdle horse but he'd be a nice one to have along with Un De Sceaux for the Ryanair. I'm not going to make that decision until I have to."

He continued: "He ran in the Champion Chase at Leopardstown and you could see he wasn't comfortable jumping at two-mile pace, yet at Christmas it looked like he wanted to be back at two.

"That's why I think he'll be best off back over hurdles but it just so happens his next race is likely to be the Champion Hurdle.

"We know he loves hurdles and in the Champion Hurdle there will be plenty of pace to bring his stamina into play. I think he'll be an easier ride in a Champion Hurdle than the Ryanair.

"We're still trying to analyse his run at Christmas. Could he have just needed it? Maybe it was an overreaction going back in trip.

"I was very happy with his work last week so if he works as well as that again, I'd say he's 60-40 for the Champion Hurdle, but we'll leave the decision until much later."

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