Bachasson to get Mullins back on track
Bachasson can banish the blues for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend in the Savills 'A Different Outlook' Chase at Tramore today.
Christmas was not kind to the champion trainer or Ruby Walsh's deputy. Faugheen's flop, Min losing out in the stewards' room, Yorkhill's tame try at three miles and Real Steel's last-hurdle exit ensured that it was a pretty dismal Christmas for the Closutton pair and they will be keen to begin 2018 on the front foot.
Bachasson could prove the perfect pick-me up. The four-time winner over hurdles has won his last two starts over fences and it was hard not to be impressed with the way he dismantled his three rivals in a Listed chase at Thurles in November.
That success has seen Bachasson's rating soar to 155 and, despite that mark being 7lb inferior to last year's winner Champagne West, he is improving rapidly and is fancied to complete the hat-trick under Townend.
Champagne West followed up his win in this New Year's Day feature last year by taking the Thyestes at Gowran Park in late January by a dozen lengths. So impressive was he there that he was only allowed to go off at 14/1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup where he finished ninth behind Sizing John.
Champagne West's sole start this season was a disappointing one in the Clonmel Oil Chase in mid-November where he trailed in 66 lengths behind Alpha Des Obeaux but his trainer, Henry de Bromhead, has had seven winners since St Stephen's Day so his team are in top form.
The four-runner field is completed by the Gordon Elliott-trained pair, A Toi Phil and Lord Scoundrel, but the trainer of those believes that Champagne West will be hard to beat.
Elliott said: "Both horse are in good form but, on the ratings, it looks like Henry's horse (Champagne West) is thrown in and will be a tough nut to crack. It is a decent race with Listed status so we said why not take our chance. They are both solid staying chasers and both should run well."
Elliott has seven runners at Tramore and nine at Fairyhouse but there is no doubting which is the most important of all 16 and that is the hugely-exciting Sutton Place which makes his chasing debut in the 2m5f beginners' chase (2.40).
Winner of four of his six starts over hurdles, Sutton Place beat subsequent Coral Cup winner Supasundae at Naas in January and is built to be even better over fences than he was over hurdles.
"Sutton Place is in good form. He will come on for his first run back since April but I've been happy with him and this looks a good starting point," said Elliott.
The drop in trip could do the trick for Sassy Diva in the 2m2f mares maiden hurdle (12.55) as she did not get home over two furlongs further at Navan having travelled very strongly.
It could also be worth siding with White Arm in the 3m1f handicap chase (3.15) from the Tony Martin stable who won the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown with Anibale Fly.