Wednesday 11 December 2019

Willie Mullins has 'no problem' with Leopardstown probe into 'suspicious betting patterns'

Trainer Willie Mullins. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Trainer Willie Mullins. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Champion trainer Willie Mullins says he had "no worries" about Yorkhill or Melon before their respective races at last weekend's Dublin Racing Festival and will welcome any findings by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), which is investigating betting patterns around the pair.

Both horses drifted significantly before the off on Saturday and performed poorly with Melon finishing fifth, 12 lengths behind Supasundae in the BHP Irish Champion Hurdle while Yorkhill was a tailed-off sixth - beaten 81 lengths - behind stablemate Min in the Coral Dublin Chase.

Mullins (right) has debunked any theory that the two horses weren't firing on his Closutton gallops ahead of their Leopardstown engagements and would greet any IHRB findings should they uncover something untoward.

"We had no worries about either horse, we're as surprised as anyone. If the authorities think there needs to be an investigation, that's no problem," Mullins said, before adding: "If the investigation can turn up something we'll be delighted to hear it. It's obviously something we don't know about."

Yorkhill is likely to revert to hurdles after disappointing in his last two chase starts, while Mullins has been boosted by the news that Paul Townend looks set to make a swift recovery from an ankle injury.

The Cork rider suffered a heavy final-fence fall from Killultagh Vic in Sunday's Unibet Irish Gold Cup but MRI results show no significant damage, with Townend set to rest for a fortnight before returning.

Elsewhere, Nicky Henderson has confirmed that On The Blind Side will put his unbeaten record on the line against the brilliant Samcro in a tantalising Ballymore Novices' Hurdle clash at next month's Cheltenham Festival.

Henderson said: "He is good. He has got to look out for this Samcro. We thought we were tootling quite nicely towards the Ballymore but we have got a rather big brick wall there in front of us.

"His owner Alan Spence said they have got to worry about us as well as us worrying about them. On The Blind Side is a good horse, he really is and he was impressive at Sandown."

Teenage sensation James Bowen has received a one-day suspension after being found guilty of hitting Gordon Elliott's Out Sam with excessive force when sixth in last month's Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park.

Bowen was not sanctioned on the day because he had already left the course with his mother as they had a flight back to England to catch with the 16-year-old unable to wait for the inquiry, despite having been instructed to remain at the track.

Meanwhile, RSA Chase favourite Presenting Percy - impressive winner of the Galmoy Hurdle earlier that day - could face a mouth-watering clash with Ladbrokes Trophy winner Total Recall in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse later this month.

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