Sport Cheltenham

Sunday 19 January 2020

SOUS PICK OF MULLINS' TEAM

Sous Les Cieux (L): Best of Mullins' trio
Sous Les Cieux (L): Best of Mullins' trio

View from connections ahead of Wednesday's Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

The Irish champion trainer has saddled two of the last four winners of the Grade One prize in Fiveforthree and Mikael D'Haguenet and has another strong hand this time.

Sous Les Cieux won the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse earlier in the season and although he has been a beaten favourite the last twice, Mullins is keen on his chances.

The master of Closutton also saddles Make Your Mark, third behind stablemate Boston Bob at Leopardstown last time, and recent Naas winner Felix Yonger.

"Sous Les Cieux is the one that has been catching my eye for most of the season," said Mullins.

"I think the last day was a messy type of a race and I think he'll appreciate the better ground and the step up in trip will probably help him too.

"I hope Make Your Mark has improved from his run the last day and I hope that he stays better on the drier ground.

"We're stepping Felix Yonger up in grade again, but I think he'll love the drier ground and he shouldn't have any trouble staying.

"It remains to be seen whether he can jump from a Grade Two to a Grade One."

Noel Meade saddled Nicanor to win the race in 2006, where he beat no lesser horse than Denman.

This year he has another major contender in Monksland, who has followed up a bumper win with two triumphs over timber.

"He travelled grand and seems in good shape. He's full of the joys of spring," said Meade.

"He's eating well and we couldn't be happier with him at this stage, so fingers crossed.

"The ground looks like it's going to come up pretty quick, but you'd have to hope he'll go on it.

"The ground was pretty quick when he ran in his point-to-point and he was going to win that day (ran out at last).

"Willie's two are two good horses. I think Make Your Mark will like the ground as it was quick when he won his point-to-point very impressively and Patrick (Mullins) tells me he'll love the ground.

"But our lad's form is good. He beat Lyreen Legend and that form seems to have stuck up well as he ran second to Boston Bob next time and then won.

"We're hopeful."

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