Vroum Vroum to spearhead yet another Mullins salvo
The postponement of Clonmel's December 3 card until today hasn't prompted Willie Mullins into a change of plans for the classy mare Vroum Vroum Mag.
There will have been more lucrative races for her over the festive period, but the champion trainer doubtless has his reasons for setting the six-year-old such a modest assignment here.
Unbeaten in six starts over fences for Mullins, Vroum Vroum Mag receives weight from all bar one of her five rivals on her hurdle bow for him in a €20,000 mares' race. On the assumption that Ruby Walsh's mount adapts well to the smaller obstacles, it will give Mullins more options with her in the months ahead.
As for this afternoon, Vroum Vroum Mag has bundles in hand based on her chase rating. She is reverting to two miles, but, with the course waterlogged last night and needing a lot of luck to get the all-clear this morning, the prevailing bottomless ground will counter the drop in trip.
Indeed, she didn't look short of gears when skating up in a Cork Grade Three over this distance last year, so she ought to justify short odds without much difficulty.
Mullins and Bryan Cooper can combine to plunder the Kerry Group Stayers Novices' Hurdle that has been transferred from Cork's beleaguered Hilly Way Chase fixture.
They are represented by the tidy Listowel scorer Gangster, and fellow Gigginstown Stud-owned Cogryhill and the upwardly mobile Damut should ensure that the Grade Three is an informative affair.
Still, Gangster showed plenty quality to collect in style over the minimum trip at the north Kerry venue, having won over two-and-a-half miles on his penultimate run at Roscommon. On the basis that this three-mile trip might bring about even further improvement then, he is fancied to collect.
Mullins and his son Patrick could take the amateur riders' maiden with Gigginstown's French import A Toi Phil, while the nap vote falls to Madfuninthewest in the opener. The Mullins-Gigginstown newcomer Bello Conti is feared, but Robert Tyner's Philip Enright-ridden charge has solid credentials.
A faller at Gowran Park in February, he then ran well in bumpers before finding only Bleu Et Rouge too strong at Cork last month. He will strip fitter for that and this tight track will suit his front-running tendency.