Alderwood set for fences
Tom Mullins is excited about seeing Grade One-winning hurdler Alderwood go down the novice chase route this season.
The JP McManus-owned eight-year-old enjoyed a dream end to the last campaign, winning the County Hurdle at Cheltenham, a Grade Two at Fairyhouse and the Grade One Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown to complete a fantastic hat-trick.
Mullins reports his charge to have returned from his summer break stronger than ever and can see no reason why he should not be just as effective over the larger obstacles.
"He's back working away and he'll start schooling next week hopefully. If that goes well, the plan is to go straight over fences with him," said Mullins.
"He improved all through last season, it was incredible really.
"I couldn't believe he could come back an even stronger horse, but I think he has actually, so we have to be optimistic for this season.
"He won his Grade One in Punchestown over two miles, so I'd say we'll start off over shorter trips, two miles or two and a quarter.
"We can go up to two and a half or three miles if we need to, but we'll start off over shorter and see how we get on.
"Anyone who has ever ridden him always said he'd make a lovely chaser, so hopefully he does and he's versatile ground-wise."
Another inmate Mullins is looking forward to seeing return to action is the promising Some Article.
The four-year-old made the perfect racecourse debut by winning the valuable Goffs Land Rover Bumper at the Punchestown Festival and Mullins is hoping he can take high rank in the novice hurdling division this term.
Some Article carried the colours of Mullins' wife, Helen, to victory at Punchestown, but has been snapped up by McManus since.
"He is a good jumper and potentially he could be a very nice horse," said the trainer.
"He was very impressive in his bumper. He had shown us a fair bit at home, but we weren't going there expecting to win and definitely not by seven and a half lengths.
"He'll probably start off in a maiden hurdle at the end of October and we'll go from there, but he's still only a four-year-old and hopefully there's plenty of improvement in him.
"JP has bought him and hopefully he'll do very well."
Mullins also confirmed three-time hurdles winner Tavern Times, last seen winning a Grade Three at Tipperary last October, remains sidelined by injury.