Willie Mullins ready to unleash Ferny Hollow and Gentleman De Mee

Willie Mullins is set to unleash both Ferny Hollow and Gentleman De Mee this weekend with the pair limbering up for their seasonal comebacks.

Ferny Hollow has not been seen since December last year due to injury but managed to win a Grade One before his season was interrupted.

Gentleman De Mee signed off last term with a trio of wins, culminating in a defeat of the Arkle hero Edwardstone by four and a half lengths at Aintree.

On Saturday Naas hosts the Barberstown Castle Poplar Square Chase, a Grade Three contest over two miles, for which both horses hold an entry with duo also entered for the Sean P. Muldoon & Patrick F. Gormley Fortria Chase on Sunday at Navan.

Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father Willie, said: "The plan will be to run either Ferny Hollow or Gentleman De Mee (at Naas), with the other going to Navan on Sunday.

"Ferny Hollow is 100 per cent. We're very happy with him. He's working well and schooling well but we just need to get experience. He has a massive deficit in the experience ledger so these Grade Three and Grade Two races are very important to him in that respect.

"Gentleman De Mee is good as well. We're hoping he's going to be a Champion Chase horse and in all those Grade One two-mile chases so it would be great to start off with some good match practice before taking on the open company horses."

Oliver Greenall, meanwhile, is eyeing up a return to Aintree in the Boylesports Best Odds Guaranteed On Racing Becher Chase for Gesskille following his second in the Grand Sefton last weekend.

Trained in conjunction with Josh Guerriero, the six-year-old has won three of his five starts since his move to the UK and prior to his fine effort on Merseyside picked up Listed honours at Auteuil in the summer.

Having shown a real liking for the Grand National fences when giving the classy Al Dancer a run for his money on Saturday, Greenall is relishing the prospect of stepping the son of Network up in trip on December 3.

He said: "We were delighted, he won a Listed race for us at Auteuil in June, and we just felt the fences over there play to his strengths so that was why we were always keen to head to the Sefton really. It was just unfortunate he was out of the weights, but we were always keen to run with it being such a valuable race.

"Henry (Brooke) gave him a lovely ride, just unfortunately his saddle slipped at Canal Turn and he just couldn't probably quite ride him the same after that, but he's run a great race and made up plenty of lengths after that. He was just unfortunate really and I think the grey horse (Al Dancer) was always pulling out just that little bit more.

"We'll probably go back for the Becher Chase. We've always felt he wants further, and he was always slightly out of his comfort zone and flat out over two and a half, so we think three-mile-two will play to his strengths. He's never run over that distance, but we think he should stay. If he does stay over that distance, it gives us plenty of options moving forwards."

Currently rated 137, Gesskille is likely to have to win a Becher Chase to earn a shot at the Grand National in April. However, if National aspirations have to be put on hold for now, there are plenty of options to keep Greenall and Guerriero's charge busy in the New Year.

"There's a rearranged cross-country at Cheltenham in January we might look at, then after that there is the Topham," Greenall added.

"He might not be quite high enough in the weights to get in the National but he's still a young horse and it's not out of the question, we'll just have to see.

"I think the National fences or cross-country fences or going back to France will be what we will be looking at going forward."

Gesskille is on of 43 entries for the Becher which include last year's winner Snow Leopardess, Sam Thomas' Our Power and Mullins' Franco De Port.

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