Mark Howard Publications Ltd

Grade 1 & 2 wins for OJA

04-February-2024 22:35
in General
by Admin

Once again, Willie Mullins dominated the second day of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown with five more winners, including the four Grade 1 prizes on offer on Sunday. Ireland's champion trainer was responsible for 9 winners from 46 runners over the two days, including all 8 Grade 1 races. While there were a few reversals along the way, El Fabiolo and State Man read the script on the second day with authoritative displays in the Dublin Chase and Irish Champion Hurdle respectively. The former warmed to his task in the jumping department and powered away in the homestraight to register and an eight and a half lengths win. Unbeaten in six runs over fences, the seven year old will take some stopping in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham next month.

Ballyburn provided the Top 40 with another Grade 1 win with a bloodless success in the two mile novice hurdle. Unbeaten in bumpers last season, the Ronnie Bartlett owned gelding had won easily over two and a half miles at the same track over Christmas and I must confess to having a few reservations about him dropping in trip here. However, it wasn't an issue racing close to the pace and pulling away in the homestraight. His options at Cheltenham include the Supreme and Baring Bingham NH and, while he evidently possesses the speed for the former event, I don't think it is a done deal - the latter looks the 'easier' contest at this stage and Mullins is inclined to go for the races his charges are most likely to win. Either way, he is a young horse with a huge future.

Fleur Au Fusil (10/1) is featured in the Unraced Bumper Horses section in OJA and she made it two out of two in the concluding Grade 2 mares' bumper. A daughter of Kapgarde who had won decisively at Naas in November, the six year old returned from a break of 84 days and produced a strong staying performance under Jody Townend. The half-sister to Grade 2 winner Grand Sancy, she races enthusiastically and having taken over with more than half a mile to run, she kept to strongly in the closing stages to record a two and a half lengths win. It was Mullins' fourth win in the race which began in 2018.

I am working at Carlisle on Monday and will therefore update the Diary later in the week. 


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