sport news Willie Mullins eyes Fairyhouse glory in bid to hold off rival Gordon Elliott

Willie Mullins may be seriously outnumbered but his hopes of fending off Gordon Elliott's attempt to grab his Irish champion trainers' title could hinge on the result of Monday's BoyleSports Irish Grand National.

Elliott's 13 starters include last year's runner-up Bless The Wings, Folsom Blue, who was fourth in 2016 when trained by Mouse Morris, Fulke Walwyn King Muir Challenge Cup third Squouateur and Monbeg Notorious, the improving novice who bypassed the Cheltenham Festival to be saved for this big prize.

In contrast, Mullins has only four runners but they include Pairofbrowneyes and Bellshill, the first and second favourite, as he attempts to eat into the championship lead of Elliott.

Gordon Elliott (right) has a squad of 13 primed for feature race at Fairyhouse on Monday

Gordon Elliott (right) has a squad of 13 primed for feature race at Fairyhouse on Monday

Elliott, who is chasing his first title, leads 11-time Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins by almost 430,000 euros with four weeks left of a season which ends with the Punchestown Festival.

Last season, Mullins reeled back Elliott on the penultimate day of the campaign but to keep in manageable range

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