Mullins readies bumper Festival team

Nicky Henderson admitted last week to a gnawing sense that the Weatherbys Champion Bumper asks too much of a young horse. They take a very different view in Ireland, however, and once again key protagonists from last year return as strong fancies for the various novice hurdles at Cheltenham next week – most obviously Dunguib, but also Rite Of Passage and Quel Esprit.

Fourth place last year qualified Quel Esprit as best of no fewer than eight runners saddled by Willie Mullins, who has dominated the race with six wins already. His bumper team has been somewhat less dominant in Ireland this winter, having been held up by a bug, but he has dependably marshalled four possibles for next Wednesday – and reckons them collectively "better than one or two" of his previous Cheltenham winners.

All four have won their only start at Fairyhouse – all ridden by the trainer's son, Patrick – though Lios A Choill has not been seen for over a year. "Day of A Lifetime won like he was working, as he had been showing lots of ability at home," Mullins said. "Bishopsfurze hated the sticky ground. Patrick just banked on getting him balanced and galloping in the straight. Once he got him going he devoured the ground, he must have made up 20 lengths. It was reminiscent of Cousin Vinny, so he's fairly good.

Up Ou That did it very well on bad ground after the big freeze. He won by 16 lengths, and his pedigree suggests he'll be better on better ground. I would give him a chance, as he will improve. Lios A Choill had an injury but we're going to try and get him ready for Cheltenham." Of the opposition, Mullins told At The Races that he has been impressed with Shot From The Hip, Forty Foot Tom and Al Ferof. But he will not have to worry about Kieren Fallon, who has turned down the mount on Old McDonald to remain in Dubai. Noel Glynn has found a top-class deputy in Paul Carberry.

Turf account: Chris McGrath

Nnap By Command (9.0 Wolverhampton) Thriving for his new stable and still very well handicapped, going best when hampered last time.

Next Best Top Flight Splash (4.0 Lingfield) Another to show immediate improvement for a new trainer.

One To Watch Viscount Rossini (S Gollings) never recovered from a mistake at Huntingdon the other day but is coming back to the boil.

Where The Money's Going Quantitativeeasing is 10-1 from 12-1 with the sponsors for the Coral Cup.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Sport
Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final
football
Extras
indybest
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on