Danny Mullins is currently enjoying his best ever season in the saddle with 39 winners already and the Co. Kilkenny native is well on track to reach the half-century by the time the jumps season finishes in April. This week, Danny gives his thoughts on Gowran Park’s biggest day – Goffs Thyestes Chase day. Top notch National Hunt action is coming thick and fast with the Irish Champion Hurdle taking place this Sunday in Leopardstown, a race which Danny also gives his take on.
Gowran Park – Thursday
Gowran Park is my local track and it’s great to have the Thyestes to look forward to. It’s a fantastic race and it’s one of the best Gold Cup and Grand National trials around. Some great horses have won this race in the past, horses such as Djackadam, On His Own, Hedgehunter and Dun Doire – as I said, it’s a great trial and something will always come out of it that will go on to better things in the big races come the spring time. The race is a tough 3m 1f over some big fences in Gowran and it takes a proper horse to win it.
More often than not, the best horse in the race will win it because it is such a great test around a fair track. It’s a tough race to win and it’s always worth keeping an eye on horses that run well in it. The previous winners that I’ve mentioned above have won both the Irish and English Grand National and have gone close in the Gold Cup in Cheltenham so it’s a good yardstick.
The Thyestes isn’t the only big race on Thursday, the Galmoy hurdle always proves to be a good race as well and can be a good marker for the spring festivals. Alpha Des Obeaux won this last year and he went on to finish a good second to Thistlecrack in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham so this race is a good marker for the spring as well. Willie Mullins has Vroum Vroum Mag, Clondaw Warrior and Shaneshill entered and whichever of these turns up will surely take some beating.
Leopardstown – Sunday
The race revolves around the return of Faugheen, it’s great to see him back after a long time out. He’ll make his first start since winning the race last year and I finished second to him on Arctic Fire. I also finished runner up to Hurricane Fly a few years back on Our Conor, I headed Hurricane Fly after jumping the last but he battled back to beat me in the end.
In terms of Sunday, it will take a good horse to get anywhere near Faugheen and hopefully he’s back to his best. Both Hurricane Fly and Faugheen are probably the best 2m hurdlers seen for some time and this race is always a good trial for the Cheltenham Champion, a race which Irish horses have a great record in the last few years – winning the last 4 in a row.
In the bumper, my mother’s horse Debuchet is a horse that we think will run well. He was runner up in Naas 3 weeks ago and he’s working well at home. He should come on for that run and we’re hoping he’ll get his head in front on Sunday afternoon.