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Willie Mullins to prepare Footpad for Irish Arkle at Leopardstown

Footpad will bid to claim the fourth top-level success of his career in the Frank Ward Solicitors Novice Chase at Leopardstown on February 3.

Willie Mullins to prepare Footpad for Irish Arkle at Leopardstown

Footpad will bid to claim the fourth top-level success of his career in the Frank Ward Solicitors Novice Chase at Leopardstown on February 3.

Footpad
Footpad Picture:Pat Healy Photography

Last season's Champion Hurdle fourth is unbeaten in two starts over fences, having backed up his debut win at Navan with victory in a Grade One at Leopardstown over Christmas.

The six-year-old, who is as short as 5-4 for the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival, will now attempt to give trainer Willie Mullins a sixth success in the Grade One contest, better known as the Irish Arkle.


Anthony Bromley, racing manager to owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, said: "All being well, Footpad is due to go to the Irish Arkle on February 3.

"He is very exciting, but he was a smart hurdler and it is no surprise he is making a good fist of it over fences.

"Should he win, he will then go for the Arkle. He is not entered for the Champion Chase and he is a novice for one season so we will stick to novice company and the Arkle is a great race.

"I'm not ruling out Willie putting an entry in the JLT, and he may well get entered in that, but he will be kept in novice company."

The Arkle also remains the long-term target for Sceau Royal, who, like Footpad, is owned by Munir and Souede.

Alan King's six-year-old is likely to warm up for the Cheltenham Festival with a tilt at the Grade Two Sky Bet Lightning Novices' Chase at Doncaster on January 27.

Bromley added: "He has had a good freshen-up since his win in the Henry VIII at Sandown and the idea is to go to the Lightning Chase, then straight to the Arkle.

"The owners have done it before (run two in one race at Cheltenham). They did it in the JLT, with Bristol De Mai and L'Ami Serge finishing second and third, and Peace And Co and Top Notch were first and second in the Triumph Hurdle."
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