Mulholland in no hurry to map out Willmount's future after impressive start
The five-year-old, who cost £340,000 at Tattersalls Cheltenham February Sale last year, was a two-and-a-half-length winner of his four-year-old maiden point and duly won his first bumper in January by 13 lengths under Jamie Moore. Willmount followed up on his second start for Mulholland with a convincing four-and-a-half-length win in the Virgin Bet Open National Hunt Flat Race, this time partnered by Sam Twiston-Davies. Mulholland was suitably impressed and said: "We'll see what happens. He had 22lb more than the runner-up (Broomhill Road) and they didn't go that quick. "He hit him once before the wings of the last and he went from one length clear to four and a half lengths clear in the space of half a furlong. "I thought it was a good run, giving 22lb away to a horse who will probably win next time out. "He only started to get going in the last half-furlong. They didn't go that quick early on, because the ground was plenty quick enough." Though he does not hold an entry in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, he could be under consideration for Aintree's Grand National meeting next month. The Wiltshire-based handler is in no rush to commit Willmount at this stage, however. "If he runs anywhere, he will run at Aintree, but obviously he's a nice novice hurdler for next year. "For any horse to win two bumpers is a good achievement. We know he is a nice horse and we're happy with what we have and there is no pressure to run him. "If there is a bit of rain around, that's fine. But that was good ground at Doncaster." Mulholland is still pondering who will ride Lord Accord at next week's Cheltenham Festival. Though the eight-year-old holds an entry in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup, he is expected to line up in the Ultima Handicap Chase on day one of the four-day meeting, for which he is a general 12-1 chance. Regular partner Richie McLernon is ruled out after suffering a broken leg and knee damage, sustained when Mulholland's Crossing The Bar was brought down in a handicap hurdle at Doncaster in January. The trainer is still sizing up options for Lord Accord, who won a Cheltenham handicap in October and was runner-up to Frodon in the Badger Beer Handicap Chase at Wincanton the following month. He added: "We've booked nobody yet. I have to speak to the owners and see. "Unfortunately, Richie McLernon is injured. I think he is hoping to be back for Aintree, but the horse is in good order and we're very happy with him."
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