Willie Mullins looks likely to be crowned as the Cheltenham Festival top trainer yet again. The great man’s dominance is astounding and his team this year looks stronger than ever. Cheltenham kicks off on Tuesday the 14th of March and Mullins is well placed to make an explosive start to the week. We’ve profiled his five best chances on Day 1. Check out our free tips page for daily content across British and Irish racing.
Facile Vega (4-5, bet365) could get Mullins off to the perfect start in the first race of the week. A six-year-old son of the mighty Quevega, he’s been ante post favourite for this race for a long time. Unbeaten in his six career starts so far and this includes an impressive victory in Cheltenham’s Champion Bumper last season. A Grade 1 winner over hurdles last time, I certainly won’t be taking him on.
Dysart Dynamo (5-1, bet365) was too wild for his own good last season and his inability to settle overshadowed his immense level of ability. Things looked more positive on that front when winning his chase debut at Leopardstown over Christmas. He respects fences more than he did hurdles and looked more in control of himself. Likely to win at the Dublin Racing Festival and he won’t be this price for long if doing so.
State Man (9-2, Paddy Power) would probably be favourite for this in a normal year. Constitution Hill is going to be an extremely difficult nut to crack however. Mullins’ charge is progressive though and he has already won two major Grade 1 hurdle races in Ireland this season. He looks the biggest danger and is a hugely talented horse in his own right.
Brandy Love (9-2, bet365) easily dispatched Love Envoi in a Grade 1 over 2m4f at Fairyhouse when last seen. A repeat of that performance or even a little improvement would see her go very close here. Marie’s Rock is a worthy favourite but this up-and-coming mare is very smart. We might need to see her beforehand as it would require a lot to win this without a prep run.
Gaillard Du Mesnil (11-8, Paddy Power) looks like the perfect candidate for this race, hence the short price. Seems to have improved this season, judging by his Grade 1 win over three miles at Leopardstown last time. Amazingly, that was his first chase win but it certainly wasn’t a bad way to get it. He’s also at the top of the market for the Brown Advisory but connections must see this as a penalty kick.
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