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Cheltenham: Mullins leads charge for victory in Champion Bumper

| 12.03.2014

Willie Mullins’ extraordinary record in the Champion Bumper looks set to continue with the Irish trainer saddling three runners who all look to have decent claims to land the top prize.

And with 19 of the 21 winners of the Champions Bumper winning on their last start before the Cheltenham race Black Hercules looks a serious contender for the top prize in the last contest of the Festival’s second day.

Unbeaten in two starts in bumpers the Willie Mullins trained horse can continue that trend and with 12 of those winners unbeaten heading into this race the signs look good.

But it is also worth noting Mullins’ incredible record in this race and this year he is going for a record breaking ninth win in this contest.

And it is not just Black Hercules who is in contention for the Irish trainer. Notably, Ruby Walsh has chosen to ride Shaneshill, another unbeaten Mullins charge.

The five-year-old was mightily impressive when winning last time out at Fairyhouse and connections believe he will go even better on the faster ground, which bodes well with the ground drying out all the time.

Modus leads the charge for the home team but with 17 of the 21 winners all bred in Ireland it is difficult to make a claim for any of the British horses.

Killultagh Vic and Vigil could also feature for the Irish with both seeing money in the markets and it is the former who backs up an interesting statistic regarding official ratings and this renewal.

In three of the last 11 renewals of this race the horse with the highest BHA official ranking has come out on top and that puts a tick in the box for Paul Townend’s ride Killultagh Vic.

And with the five-year-old also trained by Mullins, bred in Ireland and also winning on his last start he has big claims to land the £34,000 top prize.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Oliver Yew