What a weekend it was for Willie Mullins at Leopardstown. The legendary horse racing trainer, who boasts impressive win records in a variety of events spanning decades, once again enjoyed a trip to the Irish capital for the Dublin Racing Festival in which he garnered some much-needed preparation ahead Cheltenham.
With the Festival on the horizon, it becomes harder and harder to pick a winner amongst the busy four-day schedule, and the Cheltenham tips can fluctuate depending on results leading up to the showpiece event. Although form is certainly subjective, Mullins’ clean sweep in Dublin certainly stands him in good stead for a Festival to remember. Let’s take a look at how some of his winners got on.
Chacun Pour Soi
Indeed, it proved to be a familiar taste of victory for Mullins-trained Chacun Pour Soi as the 10-year-old made it a third consecutive win in the Dublin Chase, seeing off Dunvegan, It was a strong showing as the French-bred horse looks to start a new purple patch to right the wrongs of an underwhelming performance at Sandown at the end of last year. In terms of Cheltenham, it will be interesting to see how Chacun Pour Soi performs in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, especially as he is still considered less favourable than close rivals Shishkin and Energumene.
In the build up to Cheltenham, you often get some entries that take you by surprise, and after the good work Danny Mullins, Willie’s nephew did with Tornado Flyer in the King George VI Chase back on Boxing Day, he is once again showing he is a force to be reckoned with as far as the jockeys are concerned — recording a win at Leopardstown with Minella Cocooner.
The six-year-old won the Grade 1 Novices’ Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival, seeing off Gordon Elliott’s similarly named Minella Crooner and Hollow Games to earn praise from Mullins post-race: “Minella Cocooner was very well ridden by Danny” he said: “He got some tremendous jumps from him and he got his breathers into him after his hurdles and paced it beautifully.”
Galopin Des Champs
Ever so often a horse will come along and set the tone for their racing career with an emphatic debut. Indeed, that was the case for Galopin Des Champs, who won by a good 22 lengths on his chasing debut and after a 244-day break, returned over the festive period to win a Beginners Chase. He added another victory to his tally en route to Cheltenham in the Dublin Racing Festival’s Novice Chase, comfortably dispatching of everyone in his path with the talented Paul Townend aboard as jockey.
“It was a proper race and we went a proper gallop” he said: “and Galopin Des Champs still hit the line well. We know he stays but when he puts up a performance like that over that trip, deciding where to go next is a nice problem to have. He is right up there with any of the novices I’ve ridden. He is a real natural, so we’ll see where he ends up”
The six-year-old has firmly burst on the scene now and adds a new dynamic to the Novices’ Chase, where he’s a strong favourite up against Henry de Bromhead’s Bob Olinger and Bravemansgame
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