The Dublin Racing Festival is often seen as the biggest Cheltenham clue and that is despite the fact we usually only see a handful of British runners at the meeting. This time around, we didn’t have any, but that doesn’t appear to have stopped the meeting from being a huge pointer towards Cheltenham.
We saw a couple of Gordon Elliott runners really shine, but the star of the show was without a doubt trainer Willie Mullins, who sent many of his star names to the track, and they nearly all delivered.
Mullins Dominates Dublin Racing Festival
After the fixture in Ireland, anyone with Cheltenham Festival betting offers will have been looking out for value, based on the performances we saw. A lot of eyes will no doubt be drawn to horses from the Mullins yard.
Perhaps most impressive were Chacun Pour Soi and Monkfish, who both enhanced their claims. There has been little doubt about the ability of Chacun Pour Soi, but his fragility has always raised concerns. We’ve seen him regularly this season, and if he gets to Cheltenham healthy, he will surely take a lot of beating in the Champion Chase on the Wednesday of the meeting.
Monkfish is seen as a potential Gold Cup horse of the future, but in the short term, he is favourite for the RSA Chase, a race that is often a steppingstone for novice chasers who eventually go on to run in the Gold Cup.
He is another we have seen regularly, but without a doubt, his win at the Dublin Racing Festival was the best performance of his career so far, one to really get fans excited.
Huge Bumper Performance from Kilcruit
The Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival appeared to be wide open as we headed into the Dublin Racing Festival, but with two graded bumpers across the weekend, the hope was that the picture would become clearer.
It certainly did, with perhaps the most impressive visual performance of the entire weekend from Kilcruit. He took the bumper on the opening day of the meeting, with jockey Patrick Mullins motionless and looking around for dangers.
He had many winners in behind him who couldn’t keep up with Kilcruit, and the time on the clock was lightning fast too, showing the race was truly run and he was a potential superstar in the making. He now heads to Cheltenham, is a short priced favourite based on that run, and don’t be surprised to see his name a little more often in the international racing news headlines.
We have always seen Willie Mullins do well in the bumper at Cheltenham, it is a race he targets. Last year’s winner Appreciate It came from the Mullins yard, was ridden by Patrick and owned by the same people who own Kilcruit. They now head to the festival with another excellent chance in the bumper, and also Appreciate It, who was another winner at the weekend, and heads to win at the festival for the second time in two years.