March 13, 2019 News
WE are into the second half of the Cheltenham Festival but the top-quality action keeps coming thick and fast, with the Stayers’ Hurdle the day three highlight.
Paisley Park is the market leader for the race and he takes on Faugheen ‘The Machine’ in what should be a thrilling renewal, plus what looks a cracking Ryanair Chase.
We spoke to Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father Willie, about Faugheen, Un De Sceaux and Footpad and got the views from the other key players.
Faugheen had a terrible fall at Leopardstown when last seen. How has he been since?
It doesn’t appear to have left a mark. He was sore for a couple of weeks afterwards but we gave him a good long break and he seems fine. Ruby [Walsh] said he hadn’t gone for him when it happened and he was very happy with how he was going in the race.
He tackles the Stayers’ Hurdle for the first time. How do you feel he is going into the race?
I rode him work not that long ago and he gave me a fantastic feel. He felt a different horse to last year when he didn’t have the same sparkle. He does want this trip now, although his age is a worry as it tends to be a race for younger horses. That said, I think he’s a great price.
The wonderful Un De Sceaux lines up in the Ryanair Chase. How are things with him?
Un De Sceaux is a wonderful horse. He hasn’t shown that he’s lost any of his ability. We all have a soft spot for him and he loves racing. The softer the ground the better for him.
Footpad also lines up in the Ryanair Chase. Do you think we will see the real Footpad?
Footpad’s not had the ideal season with the overreach he’s had twice. He did school well the other day and seemed to be more himself. He hadn’t been worked that well up to the Dublin Racing Festival, which is why we missed it. Going up in trip is no problem with him.
What the others say of their key day three runners…
Frodon – Ryanair Chase: He’s got a lion heart and tries so hard; he puts everything into what he does everyday let alone when he goes to the races. He loves his job and will give his all. This year he’s been in better shape than ever and hopefully he’ll continue that. He’s not produced his best at the festival in the past but I can’t see why he won’t run a big race this time around.
Posh Trish – mares’ novices’ hurdle: She’s done ever so well this year and is joint top-rated for the race with Epatante yet she’s double the price for some reason. Let me tell you, she’s a very high-class mare and has been trained very specifically for this race. She’s in excellent for and we couldn’t be happier with her. I’m excited about her chances and think she’ll run a very big race.
Terrefort – Ryanair Chase: The trip is right for him and this seems the best option for him. He ran well at the festival last year, so hopefully he will again.
Epatante/Elusive Belle/Lust For Glory/Daphe De Clos – mares’ novices’ hurdle: Epatante is one we’ve all been looking forward to and we think she’s one of our best chances of the week. The other three are all good mares, but Epatante would be our main one.