Willie Mullins flies Irish flag in South Korea with Riven Light

Champion trainer also aiming for quick start to Listowel Festival

Danny Mullins on Riven Light wins the Mile Handicap race at the  Galway  Festival. Photograph: Inpho

Danny Mullins on Riven Light wins the Mile Handicap race at the Galway Festival. Photograph: Inpho

 

 It will be a small weekend world for Willie Mullins who flies the flag for Ireland in Seoul on Sunday morning.

The Mullins-trained Riven Light is the Irish hope among nine different countries represented at South Korea’s “Autumn Racing Carnival”.

It is the third year of the carnival which hosts two invitational races for international runners and Mullins has taken up the challenge of the nine-furlong Keeneland Korea Cup with Riven Light.

Local jockey Jo Sung Gon will break from stall six of the 15 runners on the Irish hope who memorably completed back to back victories in the Galway festival’s big mile handicap during the summer.

The Korean race is worth almost €770,000 and Riven Light is joined in the field by the British based runner Forest Ranger.

Japan’s London Town will attempt to repeat his win in the race last year and is a 13-8 favourite with Paddy Power. Riven Light is a 6-1 shot.

Seoul’s valuable international action is part of a modern drive to boost racing’s profile in South  Korea. Later on Sunday - and almost 10,000kms away – Listowel’s historic “Harvest Festival” gets under way.

Mullins has half a dozen runners at the meeting which has a 160-year tradition year and often signals a return of focus to jump racing’s bigger names in Ireland.

None of the champion jumps trainer’s three runners in the mares novice chase are likely to figure among his leading lights this winter. However Camelia de Cotte did win at Roscommon last month and could wind up in a duel with the Gordon Elliott trained hope Synopsis.

Ruby Walsh hasn’t made it back from his rib injury in time for the start of the seven-day festival and Paul Townend also gets to team with the 2016 Irish Leger hero Wicklow Brave. He is rated to have little more than a profitable school in a conditions hurdle.

The cross-code theme will be maintained in the bumper when Mullins’s Scaglietti, a daughter of the 2009 Ebor winner Sesenta, makes her debut.

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