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Mr Incredible set to be part of powerful Ayr raid for title-chasing Mullins

Having made it no further than The Chair in the Randox Grand National at Aintree on Saturday, Mr Incredible is set to make a swift reappearance as part of Willie Mullins’ assault on this weekend’s Coral Scottish Grand National meeting at Ayr.

The victory of I Am Maximus in the world’s most famous steeplechase put Mullins in pole position in the race to be crowned Britain’s champion trainer in less than a fortnight’s time, and the Closutton team are keen to press home their advantage by sending a formidable squad to Scotland. Mullins has made 33 entries across this weekend’s eight-race card, with six standing their ground for the £200,000 main event.

Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father, told the PA news agency: “We had a good look at what we could enter and what could be competitive and what races were worth nice money. We’ll definitely be doing our very best after the position we find ourselves in now.“ We’ve just got to find the right horses for the right races.

Obviously Punchestown is very high in our thoughts as well.“We were in a very similar position eight years ago and Paul Nicholls came back and beat us, so we’re not taking anything for granted just yet.”

The sponsors make the Mullins-trained Fairyhouse scorer Macdermott their 6-1 favourite for the Scottish National, with Mr Incredible’s odds slashed from 8-1 from 16-1 after he was left in the race at Monday’s confirmation stage. As short as 10-1 at Aintree, the talented but not entirely predictable eight-year-old was slow to start at Aintree, was impeded by the fall of the loose Corach Rambler at the second fence and then again by Mahler Mission when eventually unseating his rider at the 15th.

Mullins said: “He started slowly and only did a lap before he came down, so he didn’t exert himself too much. He’ll probably take his chance again on Saturday.“ He actually jumped The Chair perfectly and ran into the back of a horse that made a mistake.“ He didn’t get a great start and nothing went right, but it might be all for luck.“ It’s a huge step up in class for Macdermott, but he has always looked a staying chaser and the extended trip should bring out the best in him.”

Ontheropes, Spanish Harlem, Klark Kent and We’llhavewan are the trainer’s other Scottish National hopefuls, while Westport Cove, Bialystok, Ocastle Des Mottes and Alvaniy are all possible representatives in the £100,000 Coral Scottish Champion Hurdle.Other Mullins-trained entries on the card include the popular veteran Sharjah, who is in the opening Scotty Brand Handicap Chase and the CPMS Novices’ Champion Handicap Chase, both worth £50,000, with impressive Punchestown winner Billericay Dickie one of 10 in the £20,000 Tennent’s Novices’ Hurdle.“

I don’t know what will run at this stage, we’ll have to have a look at the weights when they come out, but at the moment everything is possible,” Mullins added.“ There’s a chance Paul (Townend) will be over and there’s a chance plenty of our jockeys will be over, I’d say. I’ve never been to Ayr, but I’m thinking I’ll be travelling over this weekend anyway.”

The only previous Irish-based trainer to be crowned champion in Britain was the great Vincent O’Brien, who claimed back-to-back titles in the 1950s.On the prospect of emulating the legendary handler, Mullins said: “To me Vincent O’Brien is the legend of the game, not a legend of the game, so to match something Vincent O’Brien did would be an extraordinary achievement and one everyone would be very proud of, but it won’t be easy.”

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