Mullins confirms Alvisio Ville will step up for Leopardstown Grade 1

Boston Bob and On His Own on course for Hennessy next Sunday

Trainer Willie Mullins is keeping some cards close to his chest in relation to Sunday’s Hennessy card. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Even among the phalanx of outstanding horses in Willie Mullins’s yard, Alvisio Ville’s impressive Christmas debut makes him a particularly exciting prospect and the JP McManus-owned star is set to return to Leopardstown next Sunday for the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle.

The ex-French recruit made an impression when scoring in a St Stephen's Day maiden five weeks ago and is 8-1 third-favourite for the Supreme Novices Hurdle on the first day of next month's Cheltenham festival, behind his stable companion Douvan and the cross-channel hope, L'Ami Serge.

Douvan remains among the Deloitte contenders ahead of Tuesday's vital five-day stage and although Mullins isn't committing himself to firm running plans for Sunday's valuable Grade 1 Hennessy card overall, he has confirmed Alvisio Ville to be on course to make an eagerly-anticipated second start in Ireland.

Keen to run

“They [the McManus team] are very keen to run Alvisio Ville in the Deloitte, so I would imagine, all being well, that’s where he’ll go. He’s fit and well and we’re looking forward to seeing him,” said the all-conquering champion who will also be chasing a 10th success in the €150,000 Hennessy.


"Boston Bob and On His Own are on course for the Hennessy," said Mullins who all but ruled out a surprise quick reappearance by the Thyestes winner, Djakadam. "I would say he is unlikely to run but I will gallop everything during the week and then think about Sunday."

Boston Bob and On His Own are currently disputing ante-post favouritism for the Hennessy, a race in which JP McManus is likely to be represented by both Carlingford Lough and the Jonjo O’Neill trained Shutthefrontdoor.

Another possible cross-channel raider is Rocky Creek whose trainer Paul Nicholls was a Hennessy winner in 2009 with Neptune Collonges.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column