Top trainer in Ireland for the past ten years Willie Mullins is favourite to become the leading trainer of the Festival by bringing over some real quality hotshots, but I’m not quite sure if it’s going to be as easy a ride as some bookies are suggesting.
The excellent unbeaten six-year-old Getabird was quoted by owner Rich Ricci last week as:
Probably our best chance of a winner at the festival this year, he improves with each of his runs and really seems to enjoy tackling hurdles now.
But I’m pretty sure this won’t be as easy as people may suggest as Getabird will be set to clash with the likes of Samcro, Kalashnikov & Apple’s Shakira in the Supreme Novices Hurdle on the opening day of the four-day festival.
However, the way he took the final bend at Punchestown back in January was rather impressive. That performance against some very good opponents is probably the reason why he is so strongly fancied.
A horse I was a massive fan of last year was Footpad, who didn’t seem to hit the heights most were expecting. But the new and improved six-year-old has been in sensational form and is three out of three. Many seem to believe Footpad could be a potential Gold Cup horse in the future.
All is well with him. he has a beautiful jumping method and we expect him to run his Race in Arkle. He is excersing well so we have no reason to change the Arkle plan.
The fantastic machine Faugheen looks set for action in the Champion Hurdle. The last time this ten-year-old was in action a lot of people were left disappointed with his performance after finishing second to John Harrington’s SupaSundae. But Willie Mullis remains slightly upbeat on the performance and suggests there still might be some life n him.
Maybe he might never reach his old heights. I am delighted he was what he was, hopefully he can come back to that but age is not on his side. Hopefully Cheltenham might reignite him a little bit.
I’m hoping and praying that all the proposed horses what are set for the Champion Hurdle are declared. This could be the race of the week with the likes of Buveur D’air, Min, My Tent Or Yours, Apple’s Jade, stablemates Yorkhill, Melon and Wicklow Brave all in action.
Mullins has so many good horses that are making the short trip over to England. I could potentially be here all day writing this, but I want to finish on a horse that has been exceptional this season even though he has only run twice, ready winner each time and that is Un De Sceaux.
Ryanair Chase and trainer Mullins had some very intriguing things to say about this 10-year-old in the past few weeks as we get closer to the big kick off:
He is in great condition and we have plenty to work on still for Cheltenham, which is surprising because you see him there this morning – he could not wait to get going. He is always very strong in his work in the mornings. He is the Ultimate iron horse.
Also, Mullins will be overjoyed that his number one jockey Ruby Walsh is fit and ready for the festival after being out injured since November.
I went back ride out at Willie’s on Saturday and im feeling 100 per cent and ready to go.
Whether i’ll be back riding before Cheltenham will depend on what the weather does and what meetings are on in Ireland later this week – and what horses are running.
Walsh will be looking to add to his tally of 56 festival winners and looks like he has some great chances to do so.