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Mikael d'Haguenet - Punchestown 01.05.09

Mikael D'Haguenet: quoted in three Cheltenham Festival markets

  PICTURE: Caroline Norris  

Mullins not ruling out Mikael Champion bid

WILLIE MULLINS was not ruling out a Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle entry for Mikael D'Haguenet on Sunday, although novice chasing remains the preferred plan for the six-year-old, who has not run this season due to a couple of setbacks.

Mullins was speaking in the wake of bookmakers introducing Mikael D'Haguenet into their Champion Hurdle markets, with Bet365 and William Hill going 12-1 and Totesport 16-1.

"The priority is to get Mikael D'Haguenet back on the racecourse as soon as we can, but we're not happy with him yet and it is too early to say when that might happen," said the trainer.

"We are still looking at training him for a novice chase campaign, but everything is up in the air and we're having to take things day by day.

"If he was back on track we'd be entering him for different chases at Cheltenham and nothing else. But because of where we are, nothing - including a possible Champion Hurdle entry - is being ruled in or out."

Having recovered from a splint problem, Mikael D'Haguenet, unbeaten in six starts over hurdles for Mullins last season, when he won three Grade 1 novice events, including the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle and Land Rover Champion Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham and Punchestown festivals, was on course to make his debut over fences in the post-Christmas period before a second problem arose.

Mikael D'Haguenet is also quoted by bookmakers for the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy - his odds ranging from 8-1 to double that - and the RSA Chase, for which he is general 7-1 third favourite.


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