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Friday, 16 November, 2018

Willie Mullins four-handed as he chases another valuable Flat handicap

Willie Mullins runs four as he bids for another big Flat handicap win
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5.30 Killarney
KWD Kingdom Gold Cup | 3yo+ | 1m6f | ATR

Willie Mullins has been making a habit of landing big handicaps on the Flat in recent months and he is on the trail of another large pot at Killarney on Thursday, when he runs four in the main race on the card.

Successful with Lagostovegas in the Ascot Stakes, Mullins took the three most lucrative Flat handicaps at the Galway festival and Law Girl, who won the McEnery Cup at Gowran Park last week, is on his team for this event.

Mullins said: "Colin Keane won on Law Girl at Gowran and was keen to ride her again. She's in good form and the better the ground, the more she'll like it."

Danny Mullins rides topweight Gustavus Vassa, who twice lost out in photo-finishes to Ebor candidate Sea The Lion before finishing fourth at Galway on his last start.

Mullins added: "He's a big horse so should be able to carry the weight and we might try different tactics this time."

The Galway festival proved to be a happy hunting ground for Willie Mullins
Completing the quartet are Exchange Rate, who is making his handicap debut having won a maiden at last year's Galway festival on his sole previous Flat start, and Merie Devie.

Exchange Rate ran twice at Galway, first unseating his rider and then finishing third later in the week. Rachael Blackmore is reunited with Meri Devie, on whom she landed a valuable 2m4f handicap at the Punchestown festival in April. 

Mullins said: "Exchange Rate will love the trip and I think he's on a nice mark. Rachael got a great tune out of Meri Devie at Punchestown and we're hoping she'll do the same on the Flat tomorrow."

Whirling Dervish, representing the in-form combination of Jessica Harrington and Colm O'Donoghue, is the sole three-year-old in the line-up. He attempts to become the first of his age group to win the race since Princess Pearlita scored for Michael Halford in 2014.

Harrington said: "We took him out of the McEnery Cup at Gowran as the ground was too quick. The rain they had yesterday was welcome and once it is no quicker than good he'll run. We've been waiting for rain. He's in great form."

Trainer John Murphy saddles three in the race

John Murphy, who won the event with Top Spin eight years ago, is three-handed with Emperor Waltz, who has done all his winning at Killarney, heading his team.

Murphy said of his team:"Emperor Waltz has shown he is very effective over the course. He's in very good form and is a huge horse who loves galloping. We're trying blinkers on Brazos, another course- and-distance winner, as he can race lazily.

"Nelson Road, who has bottom weight, takes his chance in the hope he might get a slice of the prize-money."

Le Vagabond, winner of the race two years ago, represents Edward O'Grady with Billy Lee, who rode him in 2016, again on board.

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Colin Keane won on Law Girl at Gowran and was keen to ride her again. She's in good form and the better the ground, the more she'll like it
E.W. Terms
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