Un De Sceaux looks set to join Annie Power and a host of other Willie Mullins horses at this month’s Punchestown Festival as they attempt to help the Closutton handler launch a fightback in the trainer’s title race with Gordon Elliott.
County Meath handler Elliott currently leads the championship by over €350,000 but Mullins will help to close the gap over the five day meeting, which runs from Tuesday April 25 to Saturday April 29, with the winner of the trainer’s title being crowned on the final day of the meeting.
Un De Sceaux was an impressive winner of the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, quelling doubts about his stamina with a decisive front-running victory under Ruby Walsh. However, he looks set to drop down in distance for Punchestown and will be targeted at the G1 Boylesports Champion Chase. Mullins said:
I’m very happy with Un De Sceaux. He was brilliant when winning his third consecutive Grade 1 chase at Cheltenham last month and given he’s unbeaten in three starts at Punchestown, I’m very much looking forward to seeing him contest the BoyleSports Champion Chase.
Mullins also looks set to run Stayers’ Hurdle winner Nichols Canyon in the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle, whilst Vroum Vroum Mag has a number of entries.
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle second Melon could also head to Punchestown along with Bleu Berry, a winner of his last three starts and Albert Bartlett victor Penhill. Mullins continued:
Melon is in great form after Cheltenham and will go for the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle where he could be joined by a few of his stablemates as well.
With three consecutive wins over two miles under his belt, Bleu Berry looks an exciting young horse. He is in the Herald Champion Novice over two but at the moment it looks like we might step him up in trip to contest the Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle over two-and-a-half miles. He’s in good form.
Penhill has various entries but he is being aimed at the three-mile Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle, that’s the race for him. He’s in good nick too.
Mullins could also run JLT Novices’ Chase winner Yorkhill and the progressive Great Field. He added:
Great Field is unbeaten in three starts for us over fences and he just keeps on improving. He’ll go for the Ryanair Novice Chase over two miles where better ground should be to his liking.
Yorkhill returned from Cheltenham in good form and I’m happy with him. He’s in at Fairyhouse this weekend so we’ll have to see about Punchestown after that. He is in both novice chases at Punchestown and I’m not sure which he’d go for.