Mullins deflated by Mikael's lacklustre display
Friday 31 December 2010
This evening's champagne sparkle down Co Carlow way may just be tempered slightly by the more disappointing sound of a bubble bursting. Hurricane Fly gave Bagenalstown-based Willie Mullins, Ireland's champion trainer, plenty to celebrate at Leopardstown as he galloped to Champion Hurdle favouritism. But the performance yesterday at the Co Dublin track by one of the yard's putative stars, Mikael d'Haguenet, was as flat as tomorrow's dregs.
The six-year-old was six for six over hurdles two seasons ago, including three at the top level, before physical vicissitudes ruled him out of action until his eagerly awaited chasing debut 16 days ago. Then, he seemed poised to make it seven in a row, only to slip and tumble on landing over the final obstacle. His second try over fences was as keenly anticipated and he started at 4-7 to make amends. He will now be given a break before regrouping on his road to the Cheltenham Festival.
Mullins had dithered a little before opting for yesterday's quick return over a trip perhaps shorter than ideal. The stamina-imbued French-bred did not jump fluently for Paul Townend and was a spent force before the home straight, trailing in fifth – and would have been sixth had the narrow leader Saludos not come down at the last. "It may have come a bit quick after the last day," admitted Mullins, "and I'm hoping that's what it was. I wasn't happy from the fifth fence, where he was a bit close. He didn't jump with confidence after that and his rhythm went."
Mikael d'Haguenet has now lost his position towards the head of the market for the RSA Chase in March, pushed to 16-1 in some lists. By contrast, Realt Dubh, the winner of yesterday's Grade One novices' contest, has moved up the betting for the Arkle Trophy at the Festival after relishing the drop back in distance.
Paul Carberry's mount, who had been behind Mikael d'Haguenet at Fairyhouse before being gifted second, jumped with panache to give Noel Meade a second top-level prize after Pandorama's Lexus Chase.
Sue Montgomery's Nap
Tornado Bob (12.40 Uttoxeter) Beat all bar a highly regarded type on his hurdling debut.
Monsieur Cadou (12.50 Warwick) Should improve for test of stamina after winning over shorter last month.
One to watch
Basil Fawlty (W Greatrex) Should not be long in adding to family's good record, judged on promising debut last week.
Where the money's going
Majestic Concorde has been introduced at 33-1 for the Grand National after Wednesday's Leopardstown victory.
Chris McGrath's Nap
Heliopsis (3.40 Uttoxeter)
Latest in Sport
Chelsea injury news: Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic could join Diego Costa on the sidelines for crucial Manchester City clash
Australian Open 2015: Thanks to Amelie Mauresmo, it's no longer Andy Murray against the world
Fantasy Premier League: Invest in Arsenal to climb the ranks in Gameweek 23
Manchester United sign former Manchester City prospect Sadiq El Fitouri on advice from Phil Neville and Paul Scholes
Chelsea vs Manchester City: Manuel Pellegrini pours scorn on anti-Chelsea 'campaign' but refuses to discuss Jose Mourinho's 'Pellegrino' slight
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...