No change in Yorkhill plan

16 February 2017 18:47:20 GMTPlus10

Willie Mullins says he has no plans to run Yorkhill in the Champion Hurdle next month at Cheltenham.

Last season's Neptune winner has been touted for a supplementary entry into the two-mile Championship contest after the Mullins team were hit by injuries to both Faugheen and Annie Power - the previous two Champion Hurdlers.

The Graham Wylie-owned seven-year-old is unbeaten since going chasing this season and, according to his trainer, will be staying at that discipline next month in the Cotswolds where he is 2.50 to win the JLT Novices' Chase.

There has been widespread speculation that the Closutton supremo would change tack and, though he admits it could happen next season potentially, Mullins say it isn't in his thinking for now.

"I'm happy to keep him over fences," Mullins told the Irish Times.

"It's his novice year. We could seriously have a think about putting him back over hurdles next season if we want to. But at the moment we're not thinking like that.

"At the moment the Champion Hurdle is not part of our plan."

Yorkhill made a wining debut over fences at Fairyhouse in December before following up when switched to Grade Three company at Leopardstown in January.

The Nicky Henderson-trained Buveur D'Air is 6.00 to win the Champion Hurdle with his Seven Barrows handler already having taken the decision to switch him back over hurdles after a pair of novice chase wins earlier in the season.

He is set to face a fellow JP McManus-owned challenger on 14th March in the shape of the Alan King-trained Christmas Hurdle winner Yanworth, currently 3.00.

With Yorkhill seemingly not Champion Hurdle bound, Mullins bid for a third straight win could be led by the likes of Vroum Vroum Mag or Un De Sceaux.

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