Willie Mullins hopes to run Benie Des Dieux, Faugheen (pictured) and Melon in the Aintree Hurdle on Thursday as he attempts to topple Buveur D’Air.

The Closutton maestro wasn’t able to take advantage when Buveur D’Air fell in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last month, with Melon finishing second as Espoir D’Allen scored for trainer Gavin Cromwell.

He is eager to fire three at Thursday’s Grade One over two-and-a-half-miles and feels it might be just what Melon, 5/1 with Betfred to win, needs based on his recent form.

“All three are fit and well and ready to run. All three could be on the ferry on Tuesday morning and, at the moment, they are all running. It is nicely timed between now and Punchestown,” said Mullins.

“We can’t say that Benie Des Dieux has had a hard season, so she’s able to run. An extra half-mile is what Melon looks like he wants and Faugheen will have no problem with the trip and the ground.”

Mullins previously won the race in 2016 with Annie Power and may saddle Benie Des Dieux in the same Rich Ricci silks now.

The ground is a minor source of concern for the 5/1 chance, who crashed out at the final flight last month at Cheltenham, seemingly with the Mares’ Hurdle at her mercy.

“The only problem would be if the ground keeps drying up. That might be an issue for Benie, but the other two will be fine on the ground, so they’re good to go,” Mullins added.

Buveur D’Air won the Aintree Hurdle in 2017 for Nicky Henderson and is 11/10 favourite with Betfred to regain his crown after missing last year’s race.

Odds subject to change.