Mullins likely to be Totally Dominant on journey west
Having taken a 'break' from the opening day of the jumps campaign at Down Royal yesterday, Willie Mullins today resumes the defence of his champion trainer's crown with a handful of runners at Ballinrobe.
The all-conquering Closutton handler made a record 16 visits to the Punchestown winner's enclosure last week and looks set to continue where he finished off last season with all representatives heading west with decent prospects.
The card gets under way with a maiden hurdle and Mullins is taken to get off to the best possible start with Childrens List which carries the colours of Susannah and Rich Ricci.
Victorious in a Belharbour point-to-point in February 2014, the five-year-old disappointed on its racecourse debut when sixth behind the smart Identity Thief in a Fairyhouse bumper, but got back on track when winning at Tramore last month.
Now making its debut over hurdles, Ruby Walsh's mount looks the one to beat, although the Noel Meade-trained Champoleon and Michael Hourigan's The Gatechecker are sure to have their supporters also, especially as both have the benefit of experience over flights.
Mullins is double-handed in the conditions hurdle with Totally Dominant likely to be the stable's No 1 contender as he has the assistance of Walsh, while the trainer's nephew, Danny, has the leg-up on Valyssa Monterg.
Former Galway Hurdle hero Moon Dice looks a shadow of his best and Gordon Elliott's Cape Glory - down the field in a hot handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse - could represent Totally Dominant's biggest danger.
The champion trainer's two other runners, Vedettariat and Contempt of Court, also line up with a favourite's chance.