Michael O’Sullivan made a huge name for himself at Cheltenham on Tuesday, by riding a double with just his second and third rides at the Festival. The other man to have a double on the day was Willie Mullins. It therefore looks significant that the two join forces on Thursday and it could prove to be a dangerous combination. Check out our free tips page for daily content across British and Irish racing.
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Haut En Couleurs doesn’t look generously handicapped, with a rating of 157. O’Sullivan takes 3lb off and with the fiercely competitive nature of these handicaps, that could make all the difference. The 23-year-old has already proven himself to be excellent at dealing with the pressure of riding here. It’s an absolute steal that he still has a claim and it’s an enormous positive for the horse’s chances.
Willie Mullins’ six-year-old brings some excellent graded chase form into this race. He finished second to Janidil in a Grade 2 at Gowran last time out and that horse is fancied by many to run a big race in the Ryanair Chase. Haut En Couleurs made his seasonal debut in the John Durkan at Punchestown. Finishing fifth, he had Fastorslow two lengths behind him and that horse was beaten by a neck in the Ultima at Cheltenham on Tuesday.
This horse beat Gentleman De Mee as a novice chaser last season, whilst still a four-year-old. There is no doubt that Haut En Couleurs has the ability to win this race and he could hardly ask for a better jockey to be taking 3lb off his back. He could be vulnerable to a handicap plot but this trainer and jockey combination is likely to give him every chance of getting the win.
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