Moore and Mullins combine for Lagostovegas in Cesarewitch

Six Irish hopefuls line up for tilt at marathon prize

Trainer Willie Mullins’ focus is principally on the flat this weekend.   Photograph: : David Davies/PA

Trainer Willie Mullins’ focus is principally on the flat this weekend. Photograph: : David Davies/PA

 

Winter may be closing in but Willie Mullins’s focus is principally on the flat this weekend with Lagostovegas leading the champion jump trainer’s three-pronged attack on the Betfred Cesarewitch in Newmarket.

Mullins also has Group One ambitions on Saturday morning as Riven Light lines up in Australia for the Ladbrokes Stakes at Caulfield.

Aidan O’Brien saddles two in the same race as he continues to chase a world record for Group One flat victories in a calendar year, a pursuit which has provoked Mullins fans to point out how he saddled 32 Grade One National Hunt winners in 2015.

He ultimately had a massive 34 top-flight success during the 2015-16 season although just a couple of runners at Cork’s National Hunt card on Sunday will command Mullins’s jumping attention this weekend.

Ruby Walsh takes care of business in Cork but Ryan Moore’s services have been snapped up for Lagostovegas in the hugely valuable Newmarket marathon.

Moore and Mullins are always a combination to contend with and Lagostovegas will be backed up by two former Irish Cesarewitch winning stable companions, Laws Of Spin (Andrea Atzeni) and Digeanta (Kevin Manning).

Overall, there are half a dozen Irish hopes for the Cesarewitch with Tony Martin saddling Landsman, Noel Meade’s Snow Falcon trying to go one better than when runner- up in last Sunday’s Irish version, and Swamp Fox representing Joe Murphy.

Mullins also has a couple of representatives in Cork’s all-flat card on Saturday and the title-chasing Colin Keane has been booked for the twice-placed juvenile Maze Runner in the first.

He does face a Ballydoyle runner here and there was plenty to like about Kenya’s Navan debut behind stable companion Flag Of Honour recently.

Keane is on his old ally Brendan Brackan who will try to land the Listed Navigation Stakes for a third year in a row. However the progressive Spanish Tenor might be tough for the veteran to beat.

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