Mulling over Mullins

 

melon

There is much to reflect upon when looking back over the fantastic weekend’s racing we just witnessed. With the Gold Cup favourite narrowly defeated by a valiant performance from the late Many Clouds, the turbulence of the Irish Arkle and lack of appearance or true performances from some of Mullins’ star performers, it’s safe to say with Cheltenham only around the corner, some questions need answering…

Every year a big talking point on the lead up to The Festival is where will Mullins’ hot pots run. A topic that divides many and can feel a little disjointed from the rest of the festivities, however, this year it seems more up in the air than ever, with something of a turbulent campaign for many of his leading stars. Super mare, Annie Power retired from the game, Min taking a knock ruling him out on Sunday, and we’re yet to see Faugheen on a racetrack Not to mention a below par performance than expected from Vroum Vroum Mag. It would seem that this years Road to Cheltenham has been far from simple for the Irish trainer and I want to look at the possibilities…

So what happens now? Does Faugheen run at Cheltenham without a prep run? I would be inclined to say no. For a horse who looks a little on the heavy side when having his first run of the season, it would be hard to imagine Mullins being too confident about his superstar’s chances in something like the Champion Hurdle this year. There is talk of him being entered on the 18th Febuary at a meeting at Gowran Park, leaving just a month before the Festival, you’d certainly not be blamed for thinking he’d have to be very, very good if he was to win now after over a year off the racecourse.

Is Min okay? With news of him being pulled out from the Irish Arkle on Sunday, the 2016 Supreme runner up was declared as, taking a bang to the knee, leaving the Cheltenham preparation in limbo. When questioned about it Mullins replied that he wanted to, ‘get the weekend out of the way first,’ take that as you will, does it seem a minor inconvenience? Or something a little more serious?  I wonder how Altior backers are feeling in light of this news, after Rich Ricci was quoted that Min injured himself in running of the Supreme last year regardless of there being little to no question of his ability over fences, is there a concern about how fragile the horse is? I, personally would like to see him back out before the festival before parting with any of my hard earned.

What to make of Vroum Vroum Mag? It looked towards the end of the race she’d emptied out, and only just got up to chin Midnight Jazz on the line at the Yorkshire track. It didn’t look to be a true run from the mare and certainly not a performance good enough to warrant any large wager for The Festival, with the Mares Hurdle looking to be the most likely destination I would like to see another run from Limini before I make my decision on the race in March.

limini

Limini, another of Mullins string with a chance in the Mare’s Hurdle at The Cheltenham Festival 

Melon looks a ripe thing for the Supreme. the good news from the weekend for team Mullins was French debutant bolting up in a maiden hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday. Whilst there is obvious question marks over the depth of the field in the race, Mullins’ short priced favourite did it well, asserting himself to be the main rival for Moon Racer in the Festival opener. The huge frame of a horse looks to have an exciting future ahead, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we saw him chasing next year.

What do you make of the weekend’s results? Melon to beat Moon Racer? Will Faugheen run at all? If not who goes to the Champion Hurdle? Let us know in the comments below…

 

 


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