Willie Mullins has trained some top-class mares over the years and Ireland's champion trainer may have another smart one on his hands in the shape of Dolcita. Featured in the Top 40 Prospects of One Jump Ahead, the Saint Des Saints filly raced twice in France for Guillaume Macaire being placed over hurdles at Pau and Auteuil before being acquired on behalf of owner Jared Sullivan. Indeed, Jared told me during the summer that the Macaire was disappointed to lose the four year old and she looked above average when winning the opening mares' novice hurdle at Tramore on Tuesday. Ironically, the same connections' Laurina won the same event two years ago before going on to win the mares' novices' hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Paul Townend's partner jumped neatly and quickly throughout and readily clear between the final two flights. An eleven lengths winner, she will reportedly head to Fairyhouse for the Grade 3 Solerina Mares' Hurdle next month before being aimed at the mares' novice at the Festival in March.
I hope subscribers to the November Update took heed to those comments on page 2 re Dolcita: "I received a positive bulletin from her owner Jared Sullivan last week saying she is held in high regard at Closutton. She is one to look forward to and, while the mares' novice hurdle division looks potentially very strong, the Saint Des Saints filly could prove overpriced at 33/1 (William Hill) for the mares' novice at the Festival in March." She is now as short as 6/1 with a top price of 8/1 and Dolcita looks set to be her stable's number one contender in a race Mullins has won each year since its inception in 2016.
The Top 40 Prospects have made a sticky start to the season but in the likes of Dolcita, Envoi Allen, Israel Champ, Sporting John, The Big Breakaway and Wide Receiver there are some exciting youngsters contained within the list. That is what One Jump Ahead is all about.
Talking of owners, I was in contact with Rich Ricci on Sunday evening following Min's victory at Punchestown. He is understandably excited about the Festive period with Willie Mullins set to unleash some very exciting prospects. Look out for news on those in the Christmas Special. Please head to the Publications section to order a copy, if you haven't already done so.
Tidal Flow was an impressive winner of the two and a half miles beginners chase at Uttoxeter. Rated 137 over hurdles, Philip Hobbs' charge had run promisingly on his fencing bow at Ffos Las and confirmed it with a wide margin win at the Midlands track. Jumping well, he pulled away in the home straight to win hard held by 21 lengths. While effective over this intermediate trip, he stays further and is the sort to win a good staying handicap chase one day. The Black Sam Bellamy gelding handles most surfaces which is a bonus and, while he is unlikely to be top-class over fences, he is one to follow. Despite his lack of chasing experience, don't be surprised if he heads down the handicap route sooner rather than later. Hobbs is a past master at doing that with progressive novices, over hurdles and fences.
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