Wednesday 19 December 2018

Douvan and Ruby will be back and Mall Dini can change my luck

Mullins says Ruby Walsh (pictured) will be back. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Mullins says Ruby Walsh (pictured) will be back. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Patrick Mullins

For over a mile yesterday I was living the dream. Douvan was travelling like only Douvan can, he was travelling like a stag and all was right with the world.

We went to the last ditch in front after getting a breather and hard in our comfort zone. We met it slightly long and instead of taking it on or putting in a short stride, he guessed at it and came down.

At that speed, there is no margin for error.

However, he got straight back up and is fine, which was all that was going through my head as I was rolling around the ground. Yesterday wasn't meant to be but the engine is still there and we live to fight another day.

Obviously, I'm disappointed but I've seen plenty of good horses fall here - Annie Power, Kauto Star, Moscow Flyer and the likes. All came back and won here afterwards.

If you are going to compete at this level you have to be able to take the good with the bad, so win or lose, yesterday's news is yesterday's news.

Ruby's injury was a huge blow to the yard but it could be worse and at least he had his two winners on Tuesday. Like Douvan, he will be back.

Watching Un De Sceaux in his youth was like seeing Michaelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel with a paintball gun, but with age he has matured and is far more professional nowadays.

He is like a Nobby Stiles figure, such an important part of the team but doesn't get the attention of the flashier members of the squad.

He is the most consistent horse in training and has only found Sprinter Sacre too good among those he has faced at three previous Festivals.

The softer ground will play even more to his strengths and I expect him to claim his second Ryanair Chase victory today.

Bacardys reverts to hurdling today after a failed venture steeplechasing.

He has schooled well and his hurdling technique is still slick. The trip is an unknown but I think his laid-back style of racing will suit it; however, the ground is a concern as he likes a sound surface to be at his best, I think.

Penhill won over course and distance last year and returns without a run since. He has huge ability but is very fragile.

It would be difficult to win off his preparation but his work at home looks good and he is as fit as ever.

Laurina is a monster of a mare which we have big expectations of.

The victory in Fairyhouse was hugely impressive and while this race is more competitive, we'll be disappointed if she can't maintain her unbeaten record.

She's a horse to look forward to next season.

I ride Mall Dini in the Kim Muir. It is a race I have yet to win but my father has never won a Handicap Chase at the Festival and this is the first time I ride another trainer's horse so I hope that can change my luck in this race!

He has won previously at the Festival and ran well in this race last year and I can't wait to throw my leg over him.

Patrick's picks

2.50 Un De Sceaux

3.30 Bacardys (e/w)

4.50 Laurina

Irish Independent

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