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Sunday Irish Racing Tips: Mullins to enjoy good day at Naas

Mark Milligan’s Sunday Irish preview is back, and he’s hoping for a good day for the Willie Mullins yard…

“He’s just as promising as his seemingly better-fancied stable companion and looks open to any amount of improvement over fences”

We’re straight into the quality contests at Naas on Sunday, with a cracking renewal of the Grade 3 novice chase (12:40) opening the card. While only eight go to post in this extended 3m event, at least six can be given a fair chance and the race should provide Cheltenham clues aplenty.

Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott typically hold strong hands, with those two trainers providing five of the eight runners, and it’s one from each of these stables that are vying for favouritism.

Willie Mullins’ Stattler took high rank in last season’s novice hurdle division, and he made a successful chasing debut when returning form eight months off at Fairyhouse last month, drawing clear on the run-in and comfortably taking care of Fighter Allen by six lengths. A horse who stays this trip, though isn’t short on speed, the forecast decent ground should suit him ideally.

Run Wild Fred, from the Gordon Elliott yard, is comfortably the most experienced of these over fences, though I have to profess to being a little underwhelmed by his runner-up finish in the Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown last time.

Sent off favourite there, he jumped largely okay barring one bad mistake, but simply had no answer once his stable companion Fury Road swept past. He looks the type who’ll be vulnerable to more unexposed rivals at this stage.

Another of Willie Mullins’ runners, En Beton, definitely falls into that unexposed category.

Described as a strong-staying type by his trainer, this son of Network made an impressive chasing debut at Punchestown last month, coming home a long way clear of Everglow and Torygraph, albeit his cause was aided by his better-fancied stablemate Egality Mans coming down two out.

It would likely have been close between the pair, though En Beton was going equally as well as Egality Mans when that one crashed out and may well have prevailed in any case.

He looks sure to progress with that experience under his belt.

Of the major contenders in this race, Farouk D’alene is the other one to concentrate on. Gordon Elliott’s charge has made a promising start to his chasing career, taking a maiden at Navan on his debut over the bigger obstacles, before just getting run out of things by Master McShee in the Faugheen at Limerick over the Christmas period.

Of the rest, Vanillier is probably the one who makes most appeal. He’s won once from three chase starts but has arguably been a little disappointing either side of that Punchestown win. I’d be disappointed if there wasn’t something with a bit more progression in here than him.

In summary, the pair of Stattler and Run Wild Fred just about deserve their places at the head of the market based on what they’ve achieved so far, but with the dead eight (and hopefully all go to post) lining up, I can’t resist an each-way stab at En Beton.

He’s just as promising as his seemingly better-fancied stable companion and looks open to any amount of improvement over fences. A little rain wouldn’t go amiss as that would really bring his stamina to the fore, though either way, I’m struggling to see this one out of the places.

SBK5/1

EXC4.1

Trainer: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
Jockey: D. E. Mullins
Age: 8
Weight: 11st 2lbs
OR:

Inexperienced favourite short enough

The market is all over Saint Felicien in the Grade 3 hurdle at 13:40 but he seems short enough for one who is very inexperienced and is taking on some battle hardened warriors.

Gordon Elliott’s five-year-old was a debut winner in France for David Cottin (strong form) and landed minor hurdle at Gowran on his Irish debut in November, going with plenty of enthusiasm before readily going clear, being eased close home. He’s undoubtedly a talent, but the waters are much deeper here.

While I fully respect Saint Felicien, I really want to take him on, with Whiskey Sour the one that makes most appeal.

Willie Mullin’s nine-year-old hasn’t made it to the track all that often in the last few years but is still capable of smart form on his day and proved he retains plenty of enthusiasm with a decent fifth-placed finish in a good handicap at Fairyhouse last time.

The refitted tongue tie he wore that day has been retained for this assignment and it can only be a plus that Paul Townend now takes back over in the saddle from a 5-lb claiming rider.

SBK4/1

EXC5.4

Trainer: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
Jockey: P. Townend
Age: 9
Weight: 11st 3lbs
OR:

Exciting bumper bet

My final bet in the card – price permitting – will be in the bumper (16:10) that closes the card.

Sticking to the Wille Mullins theme that has run through this article, he has his bumper horses in fine form at the moment and I’m hoping he can take this with newcomer Seabank Bistro.

His trainer talks in glowing terms about this one and clearly holds him in high regard, stating him to be a fine chasing prospect in time. I’m hoping he has the pace to be competitive here – the 2m 3f trip will certainly help in that regard – with Santonito seemingly the one to beat.

Gordon Elliott’s charge has been second on both bumper starts to date, interestingly beaten by Mullins-trained runners both times, so my feeling is that the master of Closutton will know where he stands with this one.

EXC1.1

Trainer: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
Jockey: Mr P. W. Mullins
Age: 5
Weight: 12st 2lbs
OR:

Sunday 30 January, 4.10pm

Market rules

Back
Lay
Santonito

Seabank Bistro

Battle Frontier

Western Walk

Desertmore House

Sammy Smart

Merry Moves

Katherine

Unheralded

Archie Hall

Wee Jerry

Busty Boy

Castlenagree

Vairue

Athagabhain

Up

Down

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