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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Jon Lees

All-conquering Willie Mullins targets elusive first victory in France's biggest jumps race

Willie Mullins has identified France’s biggest jumps as one of his bucket list items ahead of his attempt to end a 104-year wait for an Irish victory in Paris on Sunday.

Ireland’s champion jumps trainer will saddle Franco De Port and Carefully Selected in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris at Auteuil.

And the Cheltenham Festival ’s most successful trainer revealed he still hopes to run Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Galopin Des Champs in the £781,000 prize one day having come close to sending him this year.

Franco De Port, the likely mount of stable jockey Paul Townend, and Carefully Selected join 2022 Grand National winner Noble Yeats, trained by Emmet Mullins, in a challenge that has eluded international competitors for years.

“1919 was the last Irish winner, Troytown, and 1962 was the last British winner,” said Mullins “There is a great challenge from Ireland this year with Noble Yeats. He’s my nephew's horse and he is going to put in a big show there.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to win, something I’ve been trying to look for a horse that’s good enough to win. I should have targeted it before now because I have so many French horses. Seven out of the eight horses I have running this weekend are ex-French.

“I should have done this before, however we sort of concentrated on Cheltenham and Punchestown and to have one cherry ripe over this sort of trip at this end of the season is a bit tougher.

“I’d love to bring Galopin Des Champs over, and indeed he was probably en route there, but after winning the Gold Cup in Cheltenham we decided we should come back to Punchestown.

“After that I felt I should give him a break. Possibly some other year we might bring him over. He’s a horse I would love to see over there.”

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