Bellshill will attempt to make it three from three over fences

Bhutan in line to make anticipated debut over jumps alongside Landofhopeandglory and Housesofparliament

Ruby Walsh on Bellshill. The Mullins-trained horse is one of eight left in the Flogas Novice Chase on Sunday. Photograph: Inpho

Ruby Walsh on Bellshill. The Mullins-trained horse is one of eight left in the Flogas Novice Chase on Sunday. Photograph: Inpho

 

Willie Mullins will not be represented in Sunday’s Grade One feature, but the champion trainer appears to have a major chance of repeating last season’s domination of the three other top-flight prizes up for grabs at Leopardstown.

Only Valsuer Lido’s dramatic last-fence exit in the Stan James Irish Gold Cup looked to prevent a Grade One clean sweep for Mullins a year ago. The Gigginstown star fluffed his lines after earlier victories for Footpad, Bleu Et Rouge and Outlander on the sole programme in Irish racing to contain four top class races.

This time Mullins has no entry in the weekend centrepiece, but the ante-post RSA favourite Bellshill will attempt to make it three from three over fences in the Flogas Novice Chase, while Mullins has seven of the dozen horses remaining in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle.

“Bellshill will probably run, and Bleu Et Rouge could go for the same race,” he said before nominating the Christmas Grade 1 winner Saturnas as a probable starter in the Deloitte.

Bellshill is one of eight left in the Flogas which was won last year by Outlander. The Gigginstown team has left in five hopefuls this time, while Our Duke will attempt to follow up his Christmas Grade 1 success for Jessica Harrington.

Christmas winner

Bapaume

Joseph O’Brien could pitch three JP McManus-owned juveniles into that race with Bhutan in line to make his eagerly anticipated debut over jumps alongside Landofhopeandglory and Housesofparliament.

The grey son of Galileo beat Housesofparliament on his sole start to date last April, and was part of an impressive batch of ex-Ballydoyle flat horses purchased by McManus last autumn.

“He was a little bit behind schedule compared to the others but he jumps well and could run on Sunday alongside Landofhopeandglory and Housesofparliament,” said McManus’s racing manager Frank Berry.

Despite a series of reverses for some of Mullins’s star performers this season – including Faugheen’s defection from the Champion Hurdle on Monday – Ireland’s dominant trainer of the past decade remains a 4-9 favourite to be leading trainer at Cheltenham. Ladbrokes made Mullins only 5-1 to train at least eight winners at the festival.

Betting lists

Ruby Walsh

“He would have to be supplemented, and I’d imagine to do that you’d have to be very, very, very, very happy with him.

“We did it last year with Annie Power. She was bombing and we thought it was the right thing to do. To do it with Yorkhill, you’d have to be convinced it was the right thing to do,” said Walsh.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.