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"We’re heading for Lingfield" - Grand National winner Noble Yeats to use Winter Million as Gold Cup prep

13 Jan 2023
Jon Vine 13 Jan 2023
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  • Key quotes from top trainer Emmet Mullins
  • Mullins landed the biggest win of his career when Noble Yeats won the Grand National
  • Noble Yeats is being pointed at the Gold Cup following his win at Aintree
  • Mullins says the plan is to run in the Fleur Dy Lys Chase at Lingfield before going on to Cheltenham
noble yeats
Sam Waley-Cohen riding Noble Yeats (R) win The Randox Grand National Handicap Steeple Chase at Aintree Racecourse. (Getty)

Emmet Mullins will send Noble Yeats to Lingfield as part of his prep for a tilt at the Gold Cup.

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Noble Yeats became the first novice for over half a century to win the Grand National last year, handing Emmet Mullins - nephew of Ireland's Champion Trainer, Willie Mullins - the biggest win of his fledgling career. 

After an ill-advised trip to France to kick off his season, Noble Yeats has bounced back to winning form, striking in a Listed Chase at Wexford before following up in the Many Cloud Chase at Aintree. On the back of that Grade Two victory, Mullins' stable star was handed fairly short odds for the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup, with bet365 listing the reigning Grand National winner as their 8/1 joint-third favourite. 

Mullins has said that a tilt at the Gold Cup is on the agenda for Noble Yeats, who will complete his prep for Cheltenham with an unexpected outing at Lingfield.

"All going well we’re heading for Lingfield, that’s the plan at the moment." Emmet Mullins said to RTE this week.

"Maybe half the reason we’re going to Lingfield is so we don’t have to take on Willie (Mullins) and Gordon (Elliott) here. We pick and choose our races I think fairly well and try to get the most out of them.

"The Many Clouds slotted in nicely and we’ll keep tipping away without showing our hand until the day that matters."

two for gold lingfield
Two For Gold beating Dashel Drasher and Bristol De Mai in the 2022 renewal of The Fleur De Lys Chase at Lingfield. (Getty)

The Winter Millions meeting was created to boost prize money in the UK. The Fleur Du Lys Chase, which was won by Two For Gold last season, boasts a fantastic first prize of £79k, some £280k short of what Noble Yeats would have connections if he managed to become just the third horse in history to win both the Gold Cup and the Grand National.

"The Gold Cup was on the radar for this year from the get-go." Mullins continued. "It was definitely on the agenda. We spoke with the Waley-Cohens and all going well he was going to be aimed for the Gold Cup and try to come back for the Grand National afterwards."

"I definitely wouldn’t rule him out of the Gold Cup. It’s a stayer’s race and I can compare him to something like Hedgehunter, who won the Grand National and was second in a Gold Cup afterwards. I think he can be there or thereabouts."

"We’re still heading for the National after the Cheltenham Festival. I suppose after our performance in the Many Clouds in Aintree, we won’t be looked after too well in the weights, but I think a horse like him grows in that scenario and I can’t see any reason why we shouldn’t fancy our chances going back again."

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