Annamix makes long-awaited debut for Willie Mullins at Limerick
French-bred horse is already favourite for Cheltenham’s Supreme Novice Hurdle
Paul Townend with trainer Willie Mullins at Punchestown Festival in April. Townend does the honours on Annamix today at Limerick. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Annamix finally makes his long-awaited debut for Willie Mullins at Limerick on Friday.
Not only is the French-bred horse already 8-1 favourite for Cheltenham’s Supreme Novice Hurdle in March, his heady home reputation meant he topped the betting for the same race last year until a pelvic problem ruled him out of action.
For a horse who finished second on his only start in France at Vichy in 2016, Annamix has always had a major reputation, being described as probably the best of owner Rich Ricci’s novice team last season without even started a race.
In the circumstances it’s not surprising Mullins has waited until easy ground was available and Annamix gets that at Limerick for a 15-runner maiden hurdle.
Any opposition hoping Leopardstown might have deflected him away have to think again and in the circumstances anything but an impressive victory is likely to constitute a let-down.
Paul Townend does the honours on Annamix and could enjoy a profitable afternoon generally at Limerick.
The featured Grade Three hurdle has a handful of some of last season’s top juveniles including the Triumph hero Farclas.
Stormy Ireland also ran in the Triumph but paid for running freely with a final flight fall. She also exited at the last obstacle of Punchestown’s Grade One equivalent.
She looked a different proposition though on her return to action at Punchestown last month, winning easily from Good Thyne Tara.
Significantly, Mullins ventured that she had thrived for a summer break, looked much stronger and was open to significant improvement.
Should that prove the case this looks a fine opportunity for Stormy Ireland to win.
Townend teams up with Redhotfillypeppers for the first time when she lines up in the novice chase.
Whether this will be enough of a test of stamina for the mare is debatable though and an alternative option could be Celtic Rising who represents the in-form Henry de Bromhead.
The former point to point winner belied long odds to run second in a maiden hurdle here last year. He subsequently won a maiden hurdle before running fourth in a maiden hurdle.
De Bromhead also runs an interesting contender in the bumper where Cobbler’s Way is one of two runners for Gigginstown Stud.
The other, Assemble, holds an edge in racecourse experience, including when fourth to Envoi Allen at Fairyhouse this month.
In contrast Cobbler’s Way’s only racing experience came when runner-up in a Dromhane point to point in April behind another Gigginstown runner, Shot To Hell. However, he looks an interesting prospect.