Tuesday 20 March 2018

Mullins duo on course for battle

Vautour on his way to winning at the Cheltenham Festival
Vautour on his way to winning at the Cheltenham Festival

Willie Mullins has raised the possibility Vautour and Don Poli taking each other on at the Punchestown Festival in the Growise Champion Novice Chase.

Both were successful at the Cheltenham Festival as Vautour blew away his rivals in the JLT Novices' Chase and Don Poli was equally as impressive in landing the RSA Chase.

A clash between the two stablemates would be one of the highlights of the week at Punchestown.

"In the Growise Champion Novice Chase, Don Poli looks to be a good candidate - he is on course for the race and it's his best option during the week," said Mullins.

"There's a good chance Vautour will go for the race too - he definitely could line up beside Don Poli. He does have other options as well so we'll see."

Vautour is also in the Boylesports Champion Chase, along with Champagne Fever and Felix Yonger among a team of six from the yard.

"Champagne Fever and Felix Yonger will be looking to go to the BoyleSports Champion Chase and it seems an obvious race for Twinlight. Vautour is also entered but he is more likely to run in the staying novice race," said Mullins.

Among other possibles for the meeting are his Gold Cup runner-up Djakadam.

"Djakadam will run in the Bibby Financial Services Punchestown Gold Cup and he's well since Cheltenham. Ballycasey and Boston Bob could also run, On His Own almost certainly will run whilst Champagne Fever has not been completely ruled out," said the handler.

"Annie Power looks like going to the Mares Hurdle unless we have nothing for the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle closer to the time. She's been in excellent form since Cheltenham.

"Black Hercules and Killultagh Vic are both being aimed at the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle. Outlander and Roi Des Francs look like they might run in that too whilst Shaneshill could go for the Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle, while Nichols Canyon is a possible.

"Buiseness Sivola has really come to himself and is starting to handle the Irish-style hurdles and deserves his chance in the AES Champion 4YO Hurdle.

"We asked Dicosimo a big question to make all in the Triumph Hurdle and it didn't work out and then he didn't fire at Fairyhouse. If he comes back to himself between now and then, he might run in this.

"Petite Parisienne, who has shown a liking for Punchestown before, could switch to this if she didn't run in the mares' race.

"All my Cheltenham horses will be entered in the Punchestown bumpers. Bellshill ran a great race in Liverpool and we could have up to half a dozen runners in the Champion Bumper. We should have one or two for the winners' bumper as well."

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