David Mullins set to use Brain Power to advertise his talent

Triple Grade One novice hurdler Yorkhill gets chasing career under way at Fairyhouse

 David Mullins celebrates his Crabbie’s Grand National victory on on Rule The World at Aintree.  Photograph: David Davies/PA

David Mullins celebrates his Crabbie’s Grand National victory on on Rule The World at Aintree. Photograph: David Davies/PA

 

The continuing momentum behind David Mullins’s rapid rise to the top of the jockey ranks takes him to Ascot on Saturday where the Grand National-winning rider aims to strike on Brain Power in the feature handicap.

The Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle – formerly known as the Ladbroke – was won by the Gordon Elliott pair Causes of Causes in 2012 and Bayan in 2014.

Four Irish-trained hopefuls line up this time, led by a Tony Martin trio that includes the bottomweight, Golden Spear, which is sure to have bookmakers on their toes, especially considering Donagh Meyler’s 3lb claim comes into play.

Given some of his decent flat form, Golden Spear could prove a major contender and although he lacks experience compared to many of these, including his stable companions, Pyromaniac and Quick Jack, Meyler’s mount does get chunks of weight, including from Brain Power.

He is one of two rides Mullins has picked up for top cross-channel trainer Nicky Henderson and the Irishman will be a sentimental favourite if nothing else when also teaming up with the veteran Reve de Sivola.

He is trying for a fourth victory in the Grade One JLT Long Walk Hurdle.

Reve de Sivola was racing when his new rider wasn’t even contemplating trying to become a jockey.

Dramatic impression

The 20-year-old has however made a dramatic impression over the last 18 months, most obviously with Rule The World’s dramatic National success, and attention on his skills isn’t confined to Ireland.  

Reve de Sivola’s owner Paul Duffy explained: “Daryl Jacob is retained and Richard Johnson was otherwise engaged. Nick [Williams] sorted the jockey situation out and feels he [Mullins] is the best available. He’s a top guy and we’re pleased to have him.”

So obviously is Henderson who will give Mullins the leg up on Brain Power.

The jockey rode the horse to finish third in a Grade One behind Don’t Push It at Punchestown last season and the partnership could prove the biggest threat to the Irish runners.

There are no such big-money prizes at Fairyhouse on Saturday but there will be huge interest in Yorkhill’s much anticipated debut over fences.

Last season’s triple-Grade One winning novice hurdler had been third favourite for the Champion Hurdle but Willie Mullins has elected to send him novice chasing.

Yorkhill is already favourite for the JLT in March and faces eight opponents on his first start over the bigger obstacles.

“He’s definitely going novice chasing this season but we can revert back to hurdles if we need to,” said Yorkhill’s owner, Graham Wylie.

“Willie said he’ll try to get him two more runs before Cheltenham so we’ve got three runs under his belt. He needs the experience.”

Mullins puts Blazer over fences in the other Beginners Chase over three miles but Mall Dini looks a tough opponent.

Last season’s Cheltenham Pertemps winner put in a performance full of promise on his own chasing debut behind Haymount and the subsequent Grade One exploits of the runner-up that day, Coney Island, help make a convincing argument for Mall Dini’s chance.  

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