It seemed inevitable really – Willie Mullins dominating the Punchestown Festival.
He may not have picked up arguably the two biggest prizes of the week in the Gold Cup and the World Series Hurdle, but in taking eight of the first 10 Grade 1s of the week (at the time of writing), he’s looking unstoppable.
Could that run continue on the final day of the meeting?
The County Carlow trainer revelled in the Champion four-year-old Hurdle last year with Abbysial, and could go well again, if the trends are to be believed.
Here’s the criteria potential winners need to fill…
- Nine of the last ten victors had won at least twice over hurdles
o Pain Au Chocolat, Qualando, Stars Over the Sea, Thunder Zone
- Only one winner in the past 11 years hadn’t run at the Cheltenham Festival
o Business Sivola, Matorico, Pain Au Chocolat, Petitie Parisienne, Qualando, Stars Over the Sea, Thunder Zone
The right connections
- Horses trained in the UK or by Willie Mullins have filled 60 per cent of the places in the last six years from just 30 per cent of the runners.
o Business Sivola, Matorico, Pain Au Chocolat, Petite Parisienne, Qualando, Stars Over the Sea
Big race pointers
- Five of the last seven winners finisihed in the first three in either the Spring Juvenile Hurdle or the Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle
o Lettre de Cachet, Petite Parisienne, Prussian Eagle
Hankering for a win
- Surprisingly 10 of the last 11 winners of this race were beaten on their previous start
o Fiscal Focus, Lettre De Cachet, Matorico, Pain Au Chocolat, Petite Parisienne, Prussian Eagle, Stars Over the Sea, Thunder Zone
- Eight of the last 10 winners had finished in the first two in either a Grade 1 or a Grade 2 hurdle
o Fiscal Focus, Lettre De Cachet, Petite Parisienne, Thunder Zone
- Once again in these big races horses bred on mainland Europe thrive, with five of the last 11 winners bred on the continent, despite making up just 20 per cent of the runners
o Business Sivola, Pain Au Chocolat, Petite Parisienne, Qualando
Favourite Qualando fares poorly on the trends, with only two horses faring worse. However the stand-out candidate for this race is Willie Mullins’ PETIT PARISIENNE.
His filly only falls down on the fact that she has yet to win twice over timber, but was a respectable fifth in the Triumph Hurdle and a close second behind Bitofapuzzle in a Grade 1 at Fairyhouse last time out.
She is the best off at the weights with the fillies allowance and will surely relish this step back to the minimum trip.
A word is given for Alan King’s Pain Au Chocolat at a bigger price.
The hill seemed to find him out at Cheltenham, but with a consistent profile before that and with a profile to do well in this, may be worth an interest.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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