Willie Mullins has been in rampant form in recent weeks. After dominating the Dublin Racing Festival, the master of Closutton has shown no signs of slowing down, racking up no less than three winners from five runners on Monday. If one thing is for sure, Mullins’ couldn’t be arriving to the Cheltenham Festival in better form.
We’ll have horse racing tips for each day of the Cheltenham Festival and it’s very likely some of Mullins’ superstars will feature. His chances dominate the ante-post markets, but how many winners will he have come Friday evening?
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Top trainer at six of the last eight Festivals, it’s fair to say that Mullins has dominated the meeting in recent years. He bids to complete a hat-trick in 2021, having posted seven winners twelve months ago. He currently holds the joint-record for the most winners at a Cheltenham Festival with eight and there’s a real chance he could go close to breaking that. With 12 horses that are either favourite or second-favourite in the ante-post markets, he’s set up for a remarkable four days.
Not all of those horses necessarily deserve their favouritism, however. Looking through all his biggest chances, I’ve settled on five that look most likely to justify their status.
Appreciate It (13/8)
Supreme Novices Hurdle
Mullins has won the Festival opener six times and this exciting novice could make it seven. He’s been formidable over timber, making it three from three with a second Grade 1 victory at the Dublin Racing Festival. A potential star in the ascendency, with both Thedevilscoachman and Dreal Deal coming out in recent days, his price is only likely to shorten.
Winning the Dawn Run Novices’ Hurdle at last year’s Festival, she bids to graduate twelve months on. Imperious in two starts this term, she cruised home over Christmas to make it three graded victories on the spin. She’ll face stiffer competition this time, but she oozes class and remains thoroughly unexposed over the 2m 4f distance.
Brown Advisory Novices Chase
The banker of the meeting for many, the fact he’s 7/1 for the 2022 Gold Cup tells you a lot of what you need to know. One of the best jumpers either side of the Irish Sea, he has made some brilliant horses look very ordinary in a pair of Grade 1 victories. If he jumps and travels with his usual gusto, he should gallop his rivals into the turf.
Chacun Pour Soi (1/1)
Missing last year’s Champion Chase, he has an excellent chance to make amends twelve months on. Returning with a facile success at Cork, he’s subsequently made a mockery of two Leopardstown Grade 1s. Generally odds on for Wednesday’s feature, he’s the highest rated and although Cheltenham is an unknown, he’s simply the one to beat at his peak.
He’s a bigger price than the rest, but the Ryanair should be the perfect race for a horse who has fallen short over three miles at two Festivals. Dropped to 2m 4f on his most recent start, he brushed aside Elimay and looked far more comfortable. He should be even happier going left-handed and will surely have far more to offer over the distance.
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