As the latest renewal of the National Hunt racing season fast approaches, those that follow the jumps campaign will be drawing up their lists of horses to keep an eye out for this year, and there’s no doubt that a number of Willie Mullins’ prized assets will be right at the top. After all, the Irish trainer sweeps up in the biggest races and his horses often lead the way on horse racing betting sites, like Smarkets.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at four Mullins-trained horses to watch in the upcoming National Hunt season. Read on to find out more.
With a 100% strike rate over hurdles last year, Appreciate It was one of Mullins’ standout horses last season, and there’s no doubt bettors will be keeping an eye out for his name across the course of this upcoming season. Already a multiple Grade 1 winner, having claimed two top-grade Novice Hurdles at Leopardstown and the Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, where he beat Henry de Bromhead-trained Ballyadam by some 24 lengths. Many bettors are now backing the seven-year-old to win the Arkle Chase at the Festival in March.
Monkfish is another horse from Mullins’ yard that enjoyed a fantastic season last year, even if he did come up just short of a 100%-win rate. A Beginners Chase victory in his first race of the campaign was bettered by back-to-back Grade 1 triumphs at Leopardstown, beating the Paul Nolan-trained Latest Exhibition in both, and the seven-year-old romped to glory at Cheltenham, beating Fiddlerontheroof by six and a half lengths. Monkfish was heavily tipped to win the Champion Novice Chase at the Punchestown Festival, Ireland’s equivalent of Cheltenham, but he was second to his stablemate Colreevy. The seven-year-old is being tipped for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which would be a first victory in the showpiece race for renowned owner Rich Ricci.
Under the guidance of Gordon Elliott, Sir Gerhard won two flat races in the latter months of last year, including the Listed “Future Champions” Flat Race at Navan. However, after a scandal from the Irish trainer’s yard, the six-year-old was transferred to Mullins’ stable, and just a couple of weeks later, Sir Gerhard beat his new stablemate Kilcruit over the line in the Grade 1 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham. He couldn’t back that victory up at Punchestown in April, coming third to Kilcruit in a Grade 1 flat race, but he is the early favourite for the Supreme Novices Hurdle, and another battle between these two Mullins-trained horses this season will have racegoers salivating.
Already briefly mentioned for that surprising eight-length victory over Monkfish at the season’s finale at Leopardstown, Colreevy had a fantastic season last year. She kicked it off with a mammoth 15-length victory in a Novice Chase at Punchestown, and won twice more at Grade 1 and Grade 2 level in Ireland before heading to Cheltenham, where she beat her stablemate and the favourite Elimay by a length and a half to win the Mares’ Chase. The Champion Novice Chase victory was the cherry on top of a great season. Colreevy is the outright favourite to defend her Mares’ Chase crown, and it’s hard to look past Mullins’ horse.
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