Race for the title: Douvan puts Mullins 100,000 clear


THE Grand National meeting looks set to prove decisive in the race between Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins for the British trainers’ championship, with just £154,087 currently separating the pair.


Mullins: £2,195,531 (best odds: 2-5)

Nicholls: £2,041,444 (best odds: 5-2)

An incredible performance from Douvan in the Grade 1 Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase added £56,270 to Mullins’s total and put clear water between himself and Nicholls.

Ireland’s champion trainer picked up nearly £50,000 when Yorkhill landed the EZ Trader Mersey Novices’ Hurdle with stablemate Bello Conti fourth. However, Le Prezien collected £15,900 for Nicholls by finishing second.

Thistlecrack denied Mullins a Grade 1 treble in the Liverpool Stayers’ Hurdle but Shaneshill grabbed the trainer £31,800 for coming second. Nicholls added £12,720 to his haul when Virak finished second in the 3m1f handicap chase.

Both trainers will be hoping to land the £561,300 Grand National first prize that would surely guarantee the title.

Nicholls saddles six hopefuls in the big race, with Silviniaco Conti among the favourites and stablemates Unioniste, Wonderful Charm, Black Thunder, Rocky Creek and Just A Par set to line up.

Mullins, meanwhile, will be represented by On His Own, Sir Des Champs, Boston Bob and Ballycasey at 5.15.

To come on Saturday

5.15 £1,000,000 Grand National
Mullins: Sir Des Champs (22-1), Boston Bob (40-1), On His Own (66-1) and Ballycasey (80-1)
Nicholls: Silviniaco Conti (14-1), Unioniste (33-1), Just A Par (50-1), Wonderful Charm (66-1), Black Thunder (80-1) and Rocky Creek (100-1)

6.10 £50,000 Handicap Hurdle
Mullins: Ivan Grozny (16-1)
Nicholls: All Set To Go (12-1) and Frodon (14-1)


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