Tuesday 25 July 2017

Mullins to keep his momentum going

Trainer Willie Mullins. Photo: Seb Daly / Sportsfile
Trainer Willie Mullins. Photo: Seb Daly / Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Sunday may go down as the turning point in the trainers' title battle and Willie Mullins' six winners recalled Gordon Elliott's public scepticism about his own chance.

Going into today, there is still a gap of nearly €387,000 between the pair, and what happens at Christmas will clarify matters greatly. Likely today's Tramore fare will play a role of the significance of a water carrier but, that said, every winner counts.

Mullins has three runners today, one in particular liable to be a punitive price. It is hard to weigh up what Camelia De Cotte achieved in France but likely she will be more than capable of winning what looks a soft touch in the opening mares' maiden hurdle.

Stablemate Torrent Des Mottes has also found an opening he can probably take in the other maiden hurdle, though this has a bit more depth to it. Given how weak Berry Des Aulmes was on his first start for Elliott, and how little he showed in the race, Ballyegan Hero seems bomb-proof each-way, even with his penalty.

The third Mullins runner, Roumanian, must have had more problems than the health service. He seemed a crock after his final run for his former trainer in 2014 but reappeared to land a gamble, just about, at Cork for Mullins in March of 2015. He has not been seen since.

Mullins said at Cork that the horse had been working poorly and he is now 10lb higher. Preference is for Adreamstillalive, a mare which has also been seemingly difficult to train.

The Waterford & Tramore Supporters Club Handicap Hurdle is the feature of a modest card at the seaside venue. Next to nothing is solid in this and perhaps Paul Nolan can strike with The Mooch, which is a pretty decent horse on his day.

The maiden chase is also pretty modest and Call Vinnie can take it for Robbie McNamara. The young trainer's last winner was in July, that the day of his first runners and a double, but Call Vinnie comes here on the back of two really solid efforts in handicap hurdles.

Though this is his chase debut, the horse has pointing experience. Like that one, Fluspar has to prove his jumping of the bigger obstacles is up to scratch in the handicap chase, yet a mark of 80 - 20lb below his hurdles equivalent - suggests that he should prove too good here, assuming he lasts out the trip. He gets the nap selection.

Elliott, who has already had an astonishing 706 runners in Ireland alone this season, can strike back in the bumper. Westland Row was a shade disappointing at Navan but has much less to do here in a race confined to lady riders.

Irish Independent

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