Tag Archives: willie mullins

Biggest Chelt Fest preview night 2012

The Boylesports.com Cheltenham preview night is taking place tomorrow, Wednesday 7th March, in the Leopardstown Pavilion. Boylesports.com is hosting this event in association with the Irish Racing Post and Leopardstown racecourse and all proceeds from the night will go to the Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association (IMNDA).

The star-studded preview panel on display at this event sets it apart from every other Cheltenham preview night, with the UK and Ireland’s top racing experts sharing their opinion and knowledge.

The panel consists of Jonathan Mullin, Willie Mullins, Tom Segal, Anthony Bromley, Davy Russell and Paudie Hassett.

In addition, this is the only panel on which Willie Mullins will sit in Ireland which means attendees on the night can expect exclusive insights from the Mullins’ yard. Also, more sporting legends such as Jimmy Magee, RTE’s famous sportscaster, known as the ‘Memory Man’ is confirmed to appear during the night.

There is an expected attendance of over 600 people on the night. Tickets are available for purchase on http://www.leopardstown.com and will be left out for collection on the night. Tickets are also available in selected Boylesports shops; Suffolk St. / Camden St. / Parnell St. / Blackrock / Shankill / Bray / Crumlin / Dundrum / Kimmage / Greystones. Pre-booking is advised but tickets will be available on the night on a first-come first-served basis.

For anyone who cannot make it on the night but would like to contribute, donations can still be made by visiting http://www.imnda.ie. A video recording of the night will also be available on the Boylesports website.

Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown Racecourse said: “We are thrilled to be involved in this fantastic event. The panel for Wednesday’s preview night is exceptional and promises to provide ample information and tips ahead of the highly anticipated Cheltenham Festival. We are especially pleased that all proceeds will be going to a very special cause, the Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association. I would like to thank Boylesports and the Racing Post for organising what will be a wonderful and informative night’s entertainment.”

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Leopardstown slip into Cheltenham mode

Leopardstown racecourse has enjoyed three hugely successful race meetings so far this year; the January Jumps weekend featuring the Boylesports.com Handicap Hurdle, the BHP Insurances Irish Champion Hurdle and the highly acclaimed Hennessy Gold Cup.

Year after year, these races have provided racegoers with informative clues as to potential winners in Cheltenham. The Road to Cheltenham series invited racegoers to come and see some of the leading contenders go into battle during the lead up to the Cheltenham Festival.

Traditionally this race meeting has been used by many trainers to finalise racecourse work on some of their principle contenders in preparation for hopeful Cheltenham glory and this Sunday is no exception with a competitive seven card meeting.

The feature race, The Carrickmines Handicap Steeplechase at 4pm presents a dozen runners with the weights headed by recent Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup runner-up, Roberto Goldback, while last year’s Irish Grand National hero, Organisedconfusion and the promising Ted Walsh trained novice, Colbert Station, are also in the line-up.

Two more interesting runners are last season’s Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup winner, Follow The Plan, and the Tony Martin-trained Montan, who has been running consistently well over fences and hurdles this season.

In other races, the Ballsbridge Hurdle has attracted seven competitors to face the starter and here the Charles Byrnes trained Pittoni clashes with the Dermot Weld trained New Phase while other interesting runners in a tight contest are the 2008 Cheltenham Champion Hurdle runner-up, Osana, the useful Won In the Dark and the smart mare, Oilily.

The concluding Killiney Pro-Am Flat Race sees the Jessica Harrington trained Jezki bid to follow up his winning debut effort over this course in late January.

Finally, in the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Steeplechase, Noel Meade’s recent Grade 2 Navan winner, Donnas Palm is likely to start favourite to follow up.

For rugby fans, you won’t miss the action at Stade de France. Leopardstown will bring a little of ‘Les Blues’ and of course ‘Les Verts’ to the racecourse where racegoers can watch the match on the large screens around the racetrack, Tote hall and numerous bars. There will also be a little French gastronomic flavour to the day with French-themed food offerings including:- ham and cheese croissant with coffee for €5, French baguette with roast beef, brie, onions and blue cheese dressing for €5.60 and finally for the foodie, beef bourguignon with a glass of wine for €14.

After the last race, some of the Cheltenham festival-bound horses will school on the track including; Lucky William, Forpadydeplasterer, Barel of Laughs, Lord Windermere, He’llberemembered, Moon Dice, Becauseicouldntsee, Realt Dubh, Silverhand, Fisher Bridge, Dylan Ross, The Midnight Club, White Star Line, Deal Done, Rick (FR), Chill, Magnanimity, His Own, Quiscover Fontaine, Prince de Beauchene, Allee Garde, Soll, Boxer Georg, Sir Des Champs, Blackstairmountain, Raptor, Up the Beat, Call the Police, Your Busy, Daffern Seal and Merchant Royal.

The schooling will also be shown on the big screen and every horse will wear a numbered saddlecloth, making the commentary easy to follow.

Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown Racecourse said: – “This Sunday will be a great sporting occasion as Leopardstown delivers fantastic live racing action and the perfect location for the sport enthusiast to watch the Rugby, our caterers are have come up with French-themed food offering too. It should be a fascinating day when opinions and tips will be flying right, left and centre. Quite simply it is the perfect pre-Cheltenham experience.”

Mullins lining them up for Navan this Sunday

Willie Mullins trains six of the 15 entries in the Grade 2 Ladbrokes Boyne Hurdle, the feature event, of what promises to be an intriguing card at Navan this Sunday 15th February.

Zaidpour, a course winner over two and a half miles before Christmas, has looked back to the form this term that saw him win the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle early last season, defeating last year’s Boyne Hurdle winner Voler La Vedette in the Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle last time and now seeking to complete a four-timer.

Mikael D’Haguenet, also coming off a hat-trick of successes, won the Grade 1 Barry & Sandra Kelly Novice Hurdle around here in the past and he along with Final Approach and Zaidpour all hold engagements in both the Champion and World Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Mourad filled the runner up berth to War Of Attrition in a thrilling Boyne Hurdle back in 2010, while Mullins is also represented by Cousin Vinny, the first to complete the Cheltenham/Punchestown Champion Bumper double back in 2008, who could make a welcome return to action on Sunday after a 669-day absence.

Mouse Morris is double handed in the Grade 2 Ten Up Novice Chase with Four Commanders and the hat-trick seeking Rathlin and he said: “I’d say one of them will run, but I am not sure which one yet. I’ll know a bit more later in the week.”

Medical Card and Crash, who fought out a great finish in the Grade 2 Woodlands Novice Chase at Naas last month are other interesting contenders.

Gift Of Dgab, runner up to Flemenstar in the Grade 1 Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown last month, could represent Tony Martin and Gigginstown House Stud in the Grade 2 Flyingbolt Chase.

The first race is off at 1:50pm and general admission is €15.00 and €10.00 for seniors. There are dining packages available at €55.00 per person and the Sports Bar Package is priced at €20.00 (includes admission, access to VIP Bar, racecard, €5.00 Tote Betting Voucher and music after racing). Pre-booking is essential.

Entries out for big Leopardstown races

Entries are out for the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle, the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle and the Grade 1 Dr P.J. Moriarty Novice Chase which will be run on Sunday 12th February (Hennessy Gold Cup Day).

Minsk could start off his hurdling career at Leopardstown next month in the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle. The four-year-old has been absent since he ran out an impressive winner of the Cesarewitch at The Curragh last October, but his trainer Dessie Hughes reports the son of Dalakhani to be in great shape.

He said: “I am very happy with him and he could go to Leopardstown for the Grade 1 there next month and if he needs another week or so, there is a Grade 3 at Fairyhouse on the 25th February. I’ve been delighted with him and he has been in fabulous form.”

Tom George has made a tentative entry for Baby Mix, who is as low as 6/1 for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham.

He said: “I am not sure where he’ll go – he is in at Cheltenham at the weekend, so we’ll see. It is a speculative entry really.”

The unbeaten Ut De Sivola could represent Willie Mullins in that contest, while the champion trainer holds a very strong hand in the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice hurdle and is responsible for seven of the 24 entries.

The improving Lord Windermere looks set to take on some of the best novice hurdlers around in that event. His trainer Jim Culloty said: “He has had a nice break since he beat Dylan Ross at Punchestown and the plan is that he’ll run at Leopardstown. He is in super form and is the type of horse that I think will continue to improve and he has come on a nice bit since his last run. I am looking forward to it and he will be my first runner in a Grade 1.”

The Philip Fenton-trained Last Instalment could put his unbeaten record over fences on the line in the Grade 1 Dr P.J Moriarty Novice Chase. The exciting seven-year-old handled better ground when he ran out a clear cut winner of the Fort Leney Novice Chase at this venue last month.

Apt is the Approach to take in Kinloch Brae at Thurles

It’s the highlight of Thurles’ year on Thursday – the day two Graded races come to the Tipperary town.
Just five line up for the Grade 2 Kinloch Brae Chase, but it’s a quality field.

Last year’s winner of this race is bidding for more success after his tremendous victory in the Guinness Gold Cup at Punchestown last May. He wasn’t firing on all cylinders on his seasonal bow at Leopardstown in the Lexus Chase (finished 6th) but is sure to come on from that blow out.

The Willie Mullins yard is in terrific form of late, and his Apt Approach, under Ruby Walsh, is sure to go off favourite. The nine-year-old is bidding for a hat-trick following success here over three miles in November and then beat Tranquil Sea over two miles and five furlongs at Tramore on New Year’s Day. The trip, track and ground should all suit this well-regarded chesnut, and he holds an entry in the GRade A handicap chase at Leopardstown at the end of the month, as well as the Ryanair Chase and the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March.

Roberto goldback has lost his way recently, his only victory in the last two years coming on good ground at Cork last April. However, he did run reasonably well behind Synchronised in the Lexus last month and if improvement is forthcoming, he’ll give Apt Approach something to think about.

Arabella Boy is the outsider of the quintet but even he has good form beside his name, having landed a beginners’ chase at Fairhouse 11 months in gutsy fashion. He was in terrific form throughout 2010 and for the early part of 2011, regularly placing over distances of two miles to two and three quarters of a mile. The two and a half-mile trip on Thursday should pose no problems, and he should be able to handle the soft track. However, on ratings, he is up against it competing with some classy individuals.

Follow The Plan has a good shout on his drop back in trip under Tom Doyle. The Fonze completes the field, though he’ll struggle to cope with the conditions.

RECOMMENDATION: Apt Approach is the one to side with. Grab any odds-against you can find.

What do you think of the race? Who will win it?