Hurricane bow rouses Mullins
Outstanding weekend gets Willie in mood for Fly's return
WILLIE MULLINS yesterday saddled his 91st National Hunt winner of this season and with the entries he holds, you wouldn't get a very big price on him reaching a century by next weekend.
A Naas treble on Saturday and Fairyhouse four-timer yesterday, which included the scalp of Noble Prince by Blazing Tempo in the feature, continued the phenomenal efforts of the champion trainer.
There seems to be an endless pit of winners at Closutton, and so many of the country's maiden hurdles and bumpers go the way of Mullins.
This is a massive week for him though and you'd almost suggest that of the seven weekend winners, he'd give up every one of them for a clear week and trouble-free weekend with Hurricane Fly.
The reigning champion hurdler is due to make his eagerly anticipated seasonal bow this Sunday at Leopardstown in the BHP Insurances Irish Champion Hurdle, and Mullins seems to be looking forward to it.
"We've been happy with him (Hurricane Fly) over the last couple of weeks and all going well, he'll be ready to go," Mullins said yesterday.
It's going to be a big weekend all around. Mullins also has Call The Police, Blackstairmountain and Sir Des Champs in the Grade One Arkle Chase, while So Young, Thousand Stars and Zaidpour flank Hurricane Fly in the big race of the weekend.
Exciting Flemenstar also heads to the Arkle for Peter Casey, while mares Voler La Vedette and Unaccompanied will both bid to follow up wins at Christmas when facing the mighty Hurricane Fly.
Boylesports sponsor Saturday's big handicap hurdle (formally the Pierse and MCR) and with that they offer a €100,000 bonus for the winner to go on and win any race at the Cheltenham Festival.
The development to make this a two-day weekend fixture at Leopardstown rather than two separate meetings a couple of weeks apart was a brilliant initative, and one of the first positive changes to Irish racing that we are going to see this year, such as the Irish Derby on a Saturday evening.
By all accounts Leopardstown are going to be well rewarded with a good crowd over the weekend.
The prestigious Thyestes Chase takes place on Thursday at Gowran. Irish racing followers are going to be treated to a good week of action and, most importantly, those keeping tabs on possible Cheltenham Festival horses will have to be on their toes. Festival hopes were dented at the weekend, but others had ambitions reinforced and more can be expected over the next six days.