Willie Mullins has thrown his support behind the new two-day festival at Leopardstown in February.

Horse Racing Ireland approved the creation of the meeting, which brings together the BHP Irish Champion Hurdle and the Stan James Irish Gold Cup on the same weekend, due to be run on February 3 and 4 in 2018.

Leopardstown currently stages three feature meetings in late January and early February but they will be amalgamated in future to mirror Irish Champions Weekend on the level.

A total of seven Grade One races will be run, with overall prize money of 1.5 million euro in 2018 which is set to rise by 2020.

Mullins told the Irish Independent: “It’s hugely important. It will put together some meetings that were probably failing a little punch after Christmas; this will have huge punch as a two-day festival.

“It’s a real festival to aim for which will gather cross-channel visitors too. The timing is just right and it’s the biggest initiative in jumps racing since Punchestown became the festival it is now.”