Mullins targets Melbourne Cup with Penhill

Champion Irish jumps trainer Willie Mullins is potentially lining up Penhill for the Melbourne Cup following his success at the Cheltenham Festival last week.

The gelding was one of half-a-dozen winners saddled by Mullins in the four-day meeting after claiming the 4800-metre Albert Bartlett Hurdle last Friday.

Mullins has previously fielded four horses in the Cup with his best result coming two years ago when Max Dynamite finished second to Michelle Payne and Prince of Penzance.

Penhill was viewed as a future Melbourne Cup horse by former trainer Luca Cumani before being moved to Mullins by owner Tony Bloom, the chairman of promotion-chasing Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club.

He has subsequently excelled over hurdles, winning six of his eight races and Mullins believes the time could be right for a return to the flat after the high-profile Punchestown festival meeting in Ireland next month.

Mullins will then seriously consider aiming the six-year-old for Flemington on November 7, where he'll aim to emulate fellow countryman and two-time winner Dermot Weld.

"He will go to Punchestown now and he is a horse that could go back on the flat. He could be a Melbourne Cup horse," Mullins said.

"Maybe he won't be good enough when we go back ... but we will see. He has got a typical profile for the horses we manage going back to the flat."

By Ian McCullough

LONDON, March 22 AAP