Mullins to test Cadmium's mettle with Dan Moore bid
In what looks like a busy weekend for the Willie Mullin team, Cadmium is set to revert to handicap company in the Dan Moore Memorial Chase at Fairyhouse on Saturday.
The Mullins' seven-year-old was an emphatic winner on his latest outing in the handicap sphere at last season's Punchestown Festival, since which he has contested high-class novice events.
He won at Grade Three level in the Buck House Novice Chase at Punchestown in October before finishing third in the Grade Two Craddockstown at the same track and fourth in the Grade One Drinmore at Fairyhouse.
The form of the latter race has worked out well, with the first two home - Delta Work and Le Richebourg - both landing top-level prizes at Leopardstown over the festive period.
If given the green light to run this weekend, Cadmium will bid to provide the Supreme Horse Racing Club with another big-race success after Aramon and Kemboy both won Grade One prizes over Christmas.
Steve Massey, racing manager for the owners, said: "He ran a really good race in the Drinmore. He was probably a bit unlucky as he got hampered after the first fence and just struggled to get back into it. Two-and-a-half miles probably stretches him a bit as well, so coming back to two will suit him. The ground is good to yielding and it doesn't look like there's much rain forecast, so conditions will be in his favour."
Cadmium is one of 16 horses still in contention for the €100,000 contest following the confirmation stage, with Mullins also leaving in the JP McManus-owned Blazer.
The weights are headed by Pat Fahy's Castlegrace Paddy, while Gordon Elliott - who has won this race in each of last two seasons with Ball D'Arc and Doctor Phoenix - has a six-strong squad made up of A Toi Phil, Duca De Thaix, Tycoon Prince, Cubomania, Mitchouka and Sunsetstorise.
On Sunday Mullins has three potential runners as he bids to continue his dominance of the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
He has claimed this prize in seven of the last 10 years, first striking gold with Mikael D'Haguenet in 2009. Mikael D'Haguenet went on to win at the Cheltenham Festival, a feat repeated by two other Mullins stars in Vautour (2014) and Douvan (2015), which both landed this event on their way to landing the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
This year the Closutton maestro has entered Buildmeupbuttercup, Prince D'Aubrelle and Harrie. Buildmeupbuttercup was a smart bumper performer for Mick Channon and made a winning debut in a Navan maiden hurdle.
Prince D'Aubrelle won three bumpers in 2015, but was sidelined for three years before winning on his first start over hurdles at Tipperary last May and has been off the track since.
Mullins, meanwhile, is responsible for five of the seven Irish-trained entries for the £155,00 Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on February 9.
The champion trainer's potential team includes Uradel, which enjoyed a fine campaign on the Flat in 2018, winning the valuable qualified riders handicap at the Galway Festival before being touched off by stablemate Low Sun in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket.
The eight-year-old would be an interesting contender if returning to the jumping game early next month.
Mullins has also given the option to Dolciano Dici, Cut The Mustard, Sayar and Saglawy. The Elliott-trained High Expectations and Jessica Harrington's Jetez are the other potential raiders.
Promising novice Al Dancer is set to put his unbeaten record over obstacles on the line for Nigel Twiston-Davies.