Saturday 18 November 2017

Mullins 'Crafty Butcher' looks cut above his Wexford rivals

Rider Ruth Dudfield gives a kiss to C'est Jersey, trained by Willie Mullins, while holding the reins of The Crafty Butcher on the gallops prior to the Cheltenham Racing Festival. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Rider Ruth Dudfield gives a kiss to C'est Jersey, trained by Willie Mullins, while holding the reins of The Crafty Butcher on the gallops prior to the Cheltenham Racing Festival. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Willie Mullins got his Cheltenham campaign back on track in some style yesterday and he has the chance for further success on the home front today when The Crafty Butcher lines up in the Veterans' Handciap Chase at Wexford.

With the Mullins stable in such good form across the water, the Brian Hayes' mount looks certain to go off favourite; however, just as at Cheltenham, Gordon Elliott could provide the biggest threat with Realt Mor.

Elliott might have a stronger chance earlier with Cadeau Du Bresil which has been consistent with two seconds in his last two races at Limerick but looks on course to go one better. Hayes is aboard a couple of other strong contenders especially Theydon Park in the opening Maiden Hurdle, which dead-heated on debut at Huntingdon.

At Down Royal, Elliott looks to have a strong chance in the feature as he goes in double-handed, with Roi Des Francs and Dedigout the two leading contenders in a five-horse race.

Elsewhere, the Tony Martin-trained Mydor is the pick to take the earlier novice chase.

The Phillip Enright mount has been inconsistent in the past but, at his best, should prove too strong. If he isn't, Crest provides the main threat for Elliott - again -whose stable has been hot at home and abroad this week.

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