Katie Walsh: Willie is about to unleash his stable stars
The Betway ambassador runs through the card on an exciting day of racing at Fairyhouse.
It’s a cracking card at Fairyhouse on Sunday, packed to the rafters with star names! I can’t wait to be there.
Willie Mullins is about to unleash his stable stars and start running his best talent now we’ve hit December. It seems that we might be getting some winter weather coming in, too.
He’s got a really strong hand in the Juvenile Hurdle (12:25) with four runners including Lossiemouth . She has been spoken of highly by her connections already, but we really don’t know how good she is.
It’s all chat at this point, but if the vibes are correct, she could be very good. I was impressed by Zarak The Brave on his debut. He was very good so he is the one to beat on all known form.
The Porterstown (12:55) is a real marathon. It’s a proper staying chase. It’s run over 3m5f and you really need stamina to win it.
The Dabbler is a dour stayer and ran well in a handicap hurdle in November which would have put him spot on for this. He has no weight on his back and he has extra 7lbs off from the jockey’s claim, so it’ll feel like he’s going around there loose. I like his chances.
The Royal Bond (13:25) is the best Novice Hurdle from the start of the National Hunt season until Christmas.
It’s no surprise that Willie has half of the field, including Champ Kiely, who was very good at Tipperary in October and Ashroe Diamond , who did well to beat the boys on her debut over hurdles.
Champ Kiely was impressive at Galway in the summer and stepped up to beat Brazil, who has since franked the form. He’s the one they all have to beat and the one I think who’ll win.
The Drinmore (13:55) has attracted a class field of 11. You could make a case for plenty of them, but I like Mighty Potter .
There’s not much between him and Three Stripe Life but I wasn’t overly keen on the latter on his debut over fences, so I’m taking him on. Mighty Potter won a Grade 1 over hurdles, so clearly has ability.
Gaillard Du Mesnil is still a novice over fences but he ran well on plenty of occasions last season, including third at the Festival in March. He’s rated 156 but you’d say this trip is well short of his optimum and they could be working backwards from the National Hunt Chase with him.
We all saw what Constitution Hill did at Newcastle did last week, but the reigning heroine Honeysuckle (14:30) is about to show us what she thinks of it all! It’s by no means the best running of this race I’ve seen, so I hope she’s just as impressive as she tries to win this race for the fourth year in a row.
There will be a good gallop on but she’s simply the best and with that mares allowance, you can’t get away from her.
Lucky Max (15:05) drops back in trip after his good run in the Brown Lad Handicap Hurdle at Naas and stayed on through the line. I think he’ll run well in what looks a very competitive handicap hurdle.
The bumper (15:35) is going to be really telling. I think they were all surprised when Better Days Ahead was beaten at Down Royal last month, so I think he’ll improve for that run.
We’ve all heard the rumours about Chapeau Du Soleil, who could be anything and is already towards the head of the betting for the Champion Bumper and he’s yet to be seen on a racecourse for Willie.
He has been out at won a schooling bumper at Thurles though, so on that, you’d have to say he’ll be sharp, and I think he’ll get the better of Better Days Ahead.
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