Mullins opts against schooling session

QUICK ground at Leopardstown on Sunday seriously curtailed the post racing action with all trainers - including Willie Mullins - who had intended schooling some of their Cheltenham-bound chasers, deciding to abandon the exercise.

Instead Mullins opted to canter 12 horses in single file over 1m2f, while Dermot Weld's Merchant Royal (Christie's Foxhunter Chase) and Daffern Seal (Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Chase) did a leisurely lap of the track with Paul Flynn's County Hurdle candidate Moon Dice.

Mullins said: "We came to school the chasers but decided against it as the ground was quite quick. As they hadn't been ridden out in the morning we decided to let them canter."

Having deliberated long and hard before letting them take to the track, Mullins reported himself very pleased, commenting: "Roger Loughran said The Midnight Club pulled his arms out which pleased me because he hasn't shown anything in his last few races and it might just have sparked his enthusiasm back up.

"I'll talk to his owners and we might let him take his chance along with Quel Esprit in the Gold Cup."

Mullins added: "One or two jockeys commented on how well their horses handled the quick ground, Raptor especially and Nina [Carberry] said Up The Beat (Kim Muir) flew on it. We'll have to consider sending Raptor for the Pulteney Land Investment Novices' Chase, although he is quite high in the handicap."

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