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 vs Manchester United: Jose Mourinho dismisses United injury worries, saying 'they have an amazing squad'
Aaron Hernandez: American Football in the dock as NFL star player's murderous double life is revealed
Chelsea vs Manchester United: Why Blues are the least popular team in the league
Arsene Wenger compares talk of Jurgen Klopp replacing him at Arsenal to a 'circus'
Chelsea vs Manchester United combined XI: Thibaut Courtois or David De Gea? Juan Mata or Willian? Who makes our team?
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a white stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...