Chatter wont make Mullins run Un De Sceaux in the Champion!

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With only three weeks to go to Cheltenham and its frantic four day festival last weekends action cast a little more light on the possible line up on those days.

Dunguib for me was the heart warming win of the weekend with the 11 year old striding out to win the Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle at Navan. The son of Presenting’s return to winning form on the track is a testament to his trainer Philip Fentons ability.

Well ridden by Brian O’Connell this performance was more than well received by most near everyone.

With a possible tilt at a Coral Cup or County Hurdle suggested it might be best to maybe dampen expectations. These two races are nearly always ultra competitive races and with Dunguib likely to be handed a hefty burden in each I would be leaning towards, well neither in fact and instead look towards some graded races closer to home.Its just that his rivals on Sunday especially Zaidpour wouldnt be a good measure to judge a performance by at present.

When you see that Fenton hadn’t given Dunguib an entry in either the Champion nor World Hurdles at first entry stage it might well question him being pitched into competitive handicaps at this stage of his life. Just a thought!

Foxrock scrambled home in the Grade 2 Ten Up Chase for Ted Walsh , Danny Mullins and Barry Connell with the 6 year old Flemensfirth not helped by a very pedestrian pace. But he battled back and is in my view a much better horse than the bare result here.

His Cheltenham objective must still be the RSA Chase or the old Sun Alliance Chase as it was known if he goes ,rather than the 4 mile National Hunt Chase as I feel he really is a horse for the future and 4 miles at Cheltenham as a 6 year old might not be a best option.

Perhaps they wont travel at all and opt for the Power Gold Cup at Easter at Fairyhouse?

The Cross Country race at the meeting should see the Henry De Bromhead trained Sizing Australia in the line up following a nice fifth place in the Opportunity Hurdle at Navan.This 2011 winner of the same race , now a 12 year old won over hurdles at Wexford in October 2013 and his handicap mark over fences is still intact, so I would pencil in him in as a possibility.

Gowran Park on Saturday last might not have thrown up many possible festival runners with Un De Sceaux a Champion Hurdle possible all but being ruled out of running in that race the day after he won the Grade 2 Red Mills Hurdle by his trainer Willie Mullins.

Many scribes have been talking up this horse over the past few months, and well placed by Mullins he has beaten little of real champion hurdle consequence to date to merit all the chatter. In all probability Mullins who is a master tactician at placing his horses may never have seriously intended running the horse at Chelteham 2014 and was reported as indicating that the horse didn’t need Cheltenham at this stage of his career!

I think that WP will win plenty of races with this French bred son of Denham Red but not the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle this season!

The Red Mills Chase saw Tom Taaffe trained Argocat surprise me and though he is a little mercurial the 10/1 winner is pretty handy and might just try his look at Prestbury Park. Well done again to Brian O’Connell on another fine Grade 2 win, just when will this fine jockey pick up a retainer from some of the bigger yards?

Over the pond saw some very interesting activity none more so than on the all weather at Kempton on Sunday!!

I know the All Weather on Sunday!!! Here Nicky Henderson ran Your Tent Or Mine in a 2 mile bumper with the the 7 year Desert Prince Champion Hurdle contender winning very comfortably. These bumpers for jumpers are primarily in place I would imagine because of the loss of racing over jumps due to the weather, so fair dues to Henderson on taking the opportunity to give his horse a race on better ground.

So a prep race on the All Weather prior to a Cheltenham might be all the rage if My Tent Or Yours wins for JP McManus and Tony McCoy! Dundalk please take note……

While Dawn Commander a winner at the same track for Pauline Robeson may not line up at the festival but this former Tinahely Point to Point winner for Jamie and William Codd shows just how versatile these point winners can be.

Captain Chris and Melodic Randezvous won at Ascot and Wincanton and both of them will be aimed at the Festival with a Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle run on the menu.

In the year thats in it both will deserve to take their chances in open renewals.

So three weeks today, its beginning to feel a lot like , well you know the rest……

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