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16 Oct 14 17:18
Date Joined: 03 Apr 06
| Topic/replies: 5,921 | Blogger: punchestown's blog
Willie Mullins has revealed Supreme Novices' Hurdle hero Vautour is likely to embark on a career over fences this season.

The five-year-old was a stunning winner of the Cheltenham Festival curtain-raiser in March and made it five from five for Ireland's champion trainer when stepped up in trip at Punchestown in early May.

Owner Rich Ricci reported at the start of the month another of his prized assets, Faugheen, would remain over hurdles this term and now his trainer has confirmed the intention is for Vautour to go over the larger obstacles.

Mullins said: "Vautour will probably go over fences.

"The ground has been so fast that you wouldn't really want to school horses at the moment. The horses are still heavy and you want to keep them sound.

"They came back in very heavy this year and I would say it's the best summer grass we've ever had. There was such great growth."

Another hugely exciting runner for the Mullins-Ricci combination is the brilliant mare Annie Power.

The six-year-old has been successful in 11 of her 12 starts, with her only defeat coming when runner-up in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Mullins has not yet decided whether she will remain over timber or go chasing this term, but has not ruled out mixing the two.

"Annie Power will probably be put over a few fences at home soon to see how she gets on," said the champion trainer.

"If she starts over hurdles this season she will probably stay over hurdles but if she starts over fences we could always switch back. I don't think she will have any problem jumping fences.

"The mares' race at Cheltenham (OLBG Mares' Hurdle) is a Grade One, so that is a big consideration, and Glens Melody is back in training so she is entitled to go for that as well."

Mullins also revealed Hurricane Fly will likely make his seasonal reappearance in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown on 16 November, a race he has won for the last two years, but he is in no rush to let Faugheen mix it with the big boys.

"I'd imagine that Hurricane Fly will go for the Morgiana. Three miles would also be no problem to him," said the trainer.

"Faugheen will start off against second-season novices. There is no need for him to be taking on the likes of Jezki or Hurricane Fly early on."

The County Carlow maestro also confirmed Pont Alexandre, who missed last season through injury, is back in training but will "take a bit longer than some of the others before he runs."
Pause Switch to Standard View WP Mullins plans for some of his...
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Report tony57 October 16, 2014 6:52 PM BST
thanks for that punchy..sorry to say it,ll be same as last year for any other trainers in ireland..ricci has 12 horses in a field at the mullins place that haven't seen a race course in his colours yet!!! some bought last season and just left out in a field can imagine the fire power to come never mind the ones we know about..mullins bought one last season that won a grade 1 in france..just been in a field for 12 mths??..great for them..but DAUNTING for everyone else...
Report punchestown October 16, 2014 7:03 PM BST
The "Mr Blobby" colours look set to rule the roost again by the looks of things Tony,what would you give to own a string like it Cool
Report tony57 October 16, 2014 7:07 PM BST
jesus your not wrong punchy..i read up on some of there buys yet to run..ffs..its not get me wrong they still have to do it..
Report wildmanfromborneo October 16, 2014 7:14 PM BST
One thing is certain his horses will get solos.

This is partly due to the skill of Willie Mullins and partly due to the stupidity of the handicapper.
Report tony57 October 16, 2014 7:17 PM BST
mullins is a master of his craft wildman...there just no getting away from it..but its also fair to say he has the best of everything..
Report CaptainMack October 16, 2014 7:47 PM BST
Here's hoping Annie Power doesn't end up in the 'Grade 1' mares. Far too good to go that route
Report SoYouThink October 16, 2014 7:54 PM BST
Mullins is a good trainer of bumper horses and hurdlers however his record over fences is questionable enough. His last Festival over the large obstacles in the last 6 seasons I think was Back in Front who won the 4 miler a couple of years ago.
Report neill d October 16, 2014 8:04 PM BST
Boston Bob should have taken that RSA for all Lord Windemere afterward.
Report neill d October 16, 2014 8:06 PM BST
Annie Power for the 2.5m Novice Chase with Glens Melody or another of his good mares for the Nicholson race.
Report p_r_e_m_i_e_r__f_a_n_t_a_s_y October 16, 2014 8:16 PM BST
Back In Focus

Back In Front was trained by O Grady and way too good to run in that gashfest of a race
Report paulie wallnuts October 16, 2014 9:24 PM BST
How in gods name is his record questionable over fences.... Sir des champs won the jewson.... Champagne fever all but won the arkle ....should have won the gold cup.... Has won the grand national.....A truly brilliant trainer and looks set to be even better this year....
Report paulie wallnuts October 16, 2014 9:35 PM BST
not to mention two sun alliance chase winners
Report paulie wallnuts October 16, 2014 9:37 PM BST
sorry 3
Report Arklearkle October 16, 2014 9:47 PM BST
Wildman could you please explain how you come to the conclusion that WM gets solos " .... due to the stupidity of the handicapper"?
Report crescent October 16, 2014 9:55 PM BST
Anyone shed any light on Un Atout?
Report dj876 October 16, 2014 10:11 PM BST
It's indisputable that WPM's festival record with chasers is far less prolific than his exploits with in particular novice hurdlers and obviously bumper runners also. I think he has won only three festival chases over the last 10 renewals and five in total;Three RSA's,4 Miler and the Jewson(a fine haul for most). There are obviously reasons for this such as injuries,less representatives and the likes of Champagne Fever,Boston Bob and On his own could be considered slightly unfortunate losers in the last 2 festivals.
Report SoYouThink October 16, 2014 10:25 PM BST
I agree with that DJ876 and that was the point I was trying to make. 3 RSA winners, 1 Jewson and 1 4-miler is an impressive enough record for any trainer but it's kind put a bit more in context when you look at all the Bumpers, Mares and Supremes that Mullins has won.

I forgot about Sir Des Champs winning the Jewson to be honest and Cooldine winning the RSA was 5 years ago, not 6 as I thought.
Report Arklearkle October 16, 2014 11:19 PM BST
Paul Nicholls a great trainer of jumpers has not won a chase at the festival since Kauto Star in 2009 so perhaps Willie's record is not so bad.
Report wildmanfromborneo October 16, 2014 11:34 PM BST
Arklearkle the reason Willie Mullins gets solos is partly his own bluffing skill and his quid pro quo arrangements with other trainers.

The handicappers stupidity kicks in when a horse runs against a highly rated horse in a conditions race he interprets the form literally because he is lazy,he types the result into his trusty computer and comes up with ratings,this rules them out of handicaps.
Report Arklearkle October 16, 2014 11:48 PM BST
Sorry Wildman but I'm still lost.
Report wildmanfromborneo October 17, 2014 12:30 AM BST
Un De Sceaux is a good example,last season he ran three times in Ireland started at 1/16 1/14 and 1/12 they were two three horse races and one four horse race.
He basically was paid fifty grand for some racecourse gallops.
Trainers always want solos but racegoers don't,those three races should be scrapped on the basis they are uncompetitive.

If you had a hurdler rated around 110 and you decided to race for the place money,if you were to run any type race the automaton handicapper would raise you about two stone.
Report Rocketfingers October 17, 2014 12:41 AM BST
Can you give some examples or even any example in the past NH season of any horse that was put up 2 stone after coming up against a Mullins hot pot horse wildman?
Report RoyalAcademy October 17, 2014 11:42 AM BST
I generally pay no attention to this man and his horses and as many are pointing out they turn up for egg-and-spoon graded or novice events at long odds-on. It hardly registers with me an a daily/weekly basis and I would prefer to watch Don Atkinson competing in a confined maiden on a 17yo piebald where they go 4's the field.

Not Mullins' fault that he has such domination but how many horses should be competing against each other if they were stabled elsewhere? Cannot understand how someone wants to spend money to let horses stand in a field - its kind of vulgar to me and shows the sad state of irish jumps racing at the grass roots. New competition badly needed here. I also think that there can be a shocking waste of money involved by those who don't seem to have the wit to realise there's better ways of playing the game.

The lack of competition also just leads to the notion of "all roads lead to Cheltenham" which does such a disservice to so many other tracks.

Will be with us for some time yet unfortunately.
Report CaptainMack October 17, 2014 5:43 PM BST
Briar being aimed at World Hurdle and UDS chasing over two miles
Report punchestown October 17, 2014 6:28 PM BST
As CaptainMack says with a bit more detail
Willie Mullins has decided his unbeaten hurdler Un De Sceaux will pursue a career over fences this season.

The six-year-old has won each of his nine starts to date, including two bumper wins in France, and clinched a couple of significant prizes back in his homeland at Auteuil towards the end of the last campaign.

Many saw the youngster as a potential Champion Hurdle candidate for this term, but speaking in a stable tour on the At The Races website, the champion trainer revealed his charge will be going over the larger obstacles.

Mullins said: "We've decided to go novice chasing with him. He'll start off at the minimum trip and he'll probably stay there.

"We upped him in trip in France at the backend of last season, but rather than thinking it was the way he wanted to go, it was just that there were two races there with fantastic prize money and we felt he'd be capable of getting away with the longer trip, which he duly did with two very good performances.

"I think soft ground is a big help to him."

Mullins also revealed his 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Sir Des Champs could miss the entire season.

The eight-year-old has been sidelined by injury since last Christmas and his trainer is in no rush to bring his dual Cheltenham Festival winner back to the racecourse.

"He's only in light training at present and we're very much playing it by ear with him" said Mullins.

"We'll do our best to get him to the Gold Cup, but he definitely won't be seen until the second half of the season and it could well turn out that he doesn't run at all this season."

Another dual Festival hero, Champagne Fever, is set to step up in distance this season and is likely to make his return at Punchestown on 7 December.

Mullins said: "We are also going to completely change how we ride him, as we think being ridden more quietly might suit him.

"He'll probably start off in the John Durkan at Punchestown and the King George at Kempton is a race we have in the backs of our minds for him."

Back In Focus, who spent the whole of last season on the sidelines, could be campaigned with a tilt at the Grand National at Aintree in mind.

The World Hurdle at Cheltenham is a potential long-term target for Briar Hill after Mullins confirmed he will stay over timber.
Report Rocketfingers October 17, 2014 6:48 PM BST
Still no answer to my question from Wildman i see, hmmm.
Report pa lapsy October 17, 2014 6:58 PM BST
Rich Ricchi statement that Vautour is staying hurdling was clearly wrong last week,it didn't last long to be fair.
Notable amongst Willies last year in the graded hurdles he was block entering everything(one he had 4 of the 5 i think) A small framed say 130 to 140 mightn't have a lot of choice except to go for one,finishing a close enough 2nd/3rd even to an eased down winner would rule them out of any handicap for a long time.
Report tony57 October 17, 2014 7:14 PM BST
im amazed uds is not staying over hurdles for this season??
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