Not only has Gordon Elliott's raider won three times at the festival he was also a stunning victor of the Grand National last April, so if he can replicate that effort then he is entitled to be a warm jolly for the unique jumping test.
"The fantastic thing is when he won at Plumpton I was very impressed with him".
"Every time I looked at Paul, his body language told me he was very happy and the horse was relaxed".
"I couldn't run her this year on the ground at home", said Mullin, 'but I felt she was well enough and her jumping was good enough to run over hurdles here. "I'll talk to Pat in the morning and we'll see how the horse is and make up our minds then". "She almost came in for a flu vaccination when we had to give it to all the horses, just in case she missed out".
Elliott had the favourite in the race, Apple's Jade, but the mare was beaten a long way out, not enjoying having her normal front-running tactics challenged by Melon.
Al Boum Photo took it up two fences from home with a slightly hairy jump, but was full of running coming down from the last and came home two and a half lengths clear of 22-1 chance Anibale Fly, who went one better than past year.
"I wasn't well for a while and I thought it was time to let the young lads get on with it". I've been thinking about retiring for a couple of weeks. I have spoken to my agent Chris Broad, who had been brilliant, and my wife and kids.
"He has just been unlucky that he is there alongside Ruby (Walsh) and, any time Ruby is free, Paul gets to ride the second horse".
Poignantly the riderless Buveur d'Air - who was bidding to become only the sixth horse to win three Champion Hurdles - accompanied the victor past the post.
In recent years he rode JP McManus Buveur D'Air to Champion Hurdle success in 2017, while he also rode Special Tiara to Queen Mother Champion Chase success for Henry De Bromhead.
His remaining two victories came on Unowhatimeanharry to win the 2016 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, and on Summerville Boy in last year's Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
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