Trainer extraordinaire Willie Mullins looks primed to start this year’s Cheltenham Festival in fine style with an extremely strong hand on Day One.
The Irish trainer is no stranger to success and the odds suggest he’ll be in and out of the winners’ enclosure with envy-inducing regularity at Prestbury Park.
However, with four of his charges offering short prices there will be plenty attempting to get his nags beat and we want to know where you think he’s most vulnerable.
Have your say by voting in the poll below, but first read up on where Mullin’s first day challenge could come undone.
Douvan – Supreme Novices Hurdle – 13:30 @ 2/1
Mullins’ view that Douvan is one of the nicest horses he’s sending to the festival should not be taken lightly. That said, nothing is straightforward about this race and Nicky Henderson’s L’Ami Serge (7/2) should provide stiff competition having won all three of his UK outings so far.
Shaneshill (10/1) could also challenge after finishing second in the 2014 Champion Bumper but it will all depend on if the step back down in trip suits after running over further in his hurdle career to date.
Un De Sceaux – The Arkle Chase 14:05 @ 8/11
There are few people out there willing to go against Mullins claiming this prize for the first time with Un De Sceaux but the seven-year-old’s sometimes scatty nature means there is little appeal in the price. Should Mullins’ charge falter then it could finally be the year of Paul Nicholls. His grey, Vibrato Valtat (11/2), has had the better of both Three Kingdoms and Dunraven Storm recently nut will need to win for a first time on the course.
Faugheen – Champion Hurdle 15:20 @ 11/10
It is telling that Ruby Walsh opted for Faugheen over Hurricane Fly (10/1), the winner of this race in 2013, and this is reflected in the price. The Fly may have beaten Jezki (9/2) on a recent assignment but the reigning champ is better suited to Cheltenham and won’t give up his crown easily.
Annie Power – Mares’ Hurdle 16:00 @ 8/13
The fact that people were waiting for Ladbrokes shops to open to take the boosted evens price on Annie Power only serves to highlight the confidence in the seven-year-old to romp home in the Mares Hurdle. Glens Melody holds some appeal at 11/2 but in all probably this one will be a procession.