Mullins is aiming for a second Irish Grand National. PA

Willie Mullins has five-strong team going for Irish Grand National honours

Carlow based trainer bids to land Fairyhouse feature for a second time.

WILLIE MULLINS HAS five runners as he attempts to win the BoyleSports Grand National at Fairyhouse for just a second time after Burrows Saint in 2019.

Mullins ended his hoodoo in style when saddling the first three home when the race was last run as it was cancelled due to the pandemic last year.

He will be hoping for a similar result again in the Easter Monday feature with the Closutton handler represented by Brahma Bull, Salsaretta, Agusta Gold, Dragon D’Estruval and Robin De Carlow, while Burrows Saint is a leading fancy for the Randox Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.

His assistant David Casey gave the latest on the stable’s quintet.

“The better ground will help Brahma Bull. He was pulled up in the Thyestes on heavy ground, but he will be better on the drier ground,” he said.

“Salsaretta ran well in Cheltenham. Hopefully that won’t have too much of an effect on her. It was a tough race, but the step up in trip with suit.

“Agusta Gold is new to the yard so we are still learning about her. She has some decent form in the book. The trip won’t be an issue. She goes there with a chance.

“Dragon D’Estruval has been hunter chasing. The trip will suit and hopefully he can be competitive.

“Robin De Carlow hasn’t run for a long time, but has some very good form in the book. She might need the race after such a long break, but she has been working and schooling well so hopefully she can run a good race.”

Peter Fahey is hoping conditions are not too quick for The Big Dog, who is due to line up after claiming a game success in the Grand National Trial at Punchestown in February.

Top amateur Jamie Codd was in the saddle that day and the pair will maintain their association at Fairyhouse, as long as conditions will suit.

Fahey said: “He’s in good nick. It’s a very competitive race, but hopefully the ground isn’t too quick. We’re going to walk the track and see how things are.

“He’s in very good form and it’s great the weights went up so Jamie is more comfortable doing the weight on him.

“Fingers crossed he can put in a big run for the owners.”

Joseph O’Brien is surprised Sempo is prominent in the betting as he is short on experience.

“In my opinion people might be getting a little carried away as he’s completed three of his five chase runs and now he jumps into an Irish National. I think it’s a bigger ask than what is being said.” he told Betfair.

“It’s a different ball game, he was relatively lightly-raced over hurdles as well. Experience-wise I think it’s a big ask, but there’s no doubt he’s a talented horse and he’s proved that in the past.”

O’Brien expects his other runner, Home By The Lee, to put up a good show.

“We’re looking forward to Home By The Lee as well, who has a little bit more experience but is still a novice,” he added.

“He wears a hood in his training as he can be a handful, but he stays very well.”

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