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“HE LOVES THE TRACK”: Willie Mullins confirms Aintree target for stable star was the priority over Cheltenham ahead of Grade 1 Bowl

Leading trainer Willie Mullins states one of his classy sorts is set to head to Merseyside later this week

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Willie Mullins Topham Chase

Closutton handler Willie Mullins confirmed that Kemboy is on-course to make his racecourse reappearance in the Betway Bowl at Aintree later this week having skipped the Cheltenham Festival.

The 10-year-old has never been seen to best effect at Prestbury Park, finishing only 7th and 9th in the 2020 and 2021 runnings of the Gold Cup, respectively, but won the running of the Merseyside chase three years ago.

The Grand National Festival the following year was abandoned due to the covid-19 pandemic.

WATCH: KEMBOY ROMPS HOME FOR WILLIE MULLINS IN THE 2019 BETWAY BOWL [CREDIT: RACING TV]

But the son of Voix Du Nord will bid to reclaim his crown across the Irish Sea later this week, his trainer has stated.

“Kemboy loves the track and was very good in the Bowl a few years ago so we decided to skip Cheltenham this year and aim for Aintree instead”, Mullins told the Racing Post.

And the recent leading Cheltenham Festival chief also confirmed that last year’s fourth, Burrows Saint, is on course for a reappearance in National Hunt’s most famous race, albeit he will do well to go one better with a recent Fairyhouse rival.

Any Second Now and jockey Derek O'Connor (right) go on to win the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase during St Patrick's Thursday of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse.
Any Second Now (pictured near side) finished third in last year’s Grand National

“Burrows Saint is fine. You would rather have had a better run in the Bobbyjo [beaten 42 lengths into third] and it’s going to be hard to turn around the form with Any Second Now.

“The team might not be as strong as other years. You’d rather some of them had better runs prior to the National, but then it’s the National and who knows what’s going to happen?”, he added.

Minella Times ridden by Rachael Blackmore clears the water during Grand National Day of the 2021 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday April 10, 2021.
The Grand National gets underway at 5:15pm on Saturday afternoon, with Willie Mullins bidding to win his first renewal since 2005

Annamix and Blackbow are expected to head for the Topham, while Royal Rendezvous could feature in the Grade 1 Marsh.

Dominic Chapman is senior content writer at Low6 with a passion for horse racing. He provides a NAP and NB every day throughout the week on selected National Hunt and Flat cards in both Britain and Ireland. Additionally, he hosts the Paddock Picks Podcast with former Welsh Grand National-winning pilot, Charlie Poste - the pair interviewing and discussing current racing topics with a special guest every week.

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