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Willie Mullins eyeing 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup domination with star trio

Jon Wilde in Fri. 17th March 1 Mar 2016
  • Willie Mullins is set to saddle three of the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup favourites
  • Find out what the Irish trainer has been saying about his runners
Ruby Walsh riding Vautour (credit: Cheltenhampro.com)

Trainer Willie Mullins is set to saddle three of the leading contenders for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup as he aims to emulate Michael Dickinson and Paul Nicholls by dominating the blue riband event of the 2016 Festival.

Both Dickinson and Nicholls have had a one-two-three in the Gold Cup, the former even sending out the first five home in 1983, while the latter filled the frame courtesy of Denman, Kauto Star and Neptune Collonges in 2008.

Mullins currently has three of the first five in the Gold Cup betting and has been speaking about each of the trio. Here are his comments about each runner:

Vautour


“He had a nice gallop on Sunday at Leopardstown and is in the Ryanair Chase and the Gold Cup. There was an interesting article suggesting his pedigree may not have enough stamina in it, we’ll have to see, but I think he has enough stamina and at the moment he’s going for the Gold Cup.

“We asked Vautour a big question in the King George VI Chase at Kempton, going on that far out (before he finished second to Cue Card). Traditionally, our horses aren’t as fit at Christmas as in March, and he’s never shone at Christmas all through his novice hurdle and novice chase years and been way better at Cheltenham.

“I think with different tactics he should easily stay. We are happy that he’ll stay judging by his home work. We decided we would stay at home (after Kempton) and get him ready at home. If he got a nick or anything like that (in a race), like we did with Djakadam, I’d have been snookered with him.”

Djakadam


“I must compliment the vet at Cheltenham when he got his cut (after falling in the BetBright Chase in January). He did a fantastic job stitching him.

“I was worried at the time, I thought we might not have enough time to get Djakadam ready, but the way the stiches healed up…I think he missed less than a week and we can make that up easily. He would have had a week off afterwards anyway. Getting him there now is the main thing, he’s doing plenty of work and I’m happy with where I am with him.”

Don Poli


“He’s in good order, he worked on Sunday and he’s fine. He loves Cheltenham, he’s won there twice, he loves that hill. In last year’s RSA Chase, Bryan (Cooper, his jockey) never dreamed he would have that much speed. I think the Gold Cup trip will be exactly what he wants.”


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Willie Mullins eyeing 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup domination with star trio

Trainer Willie Mullins is set to saddle three of the leading contenders for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup as he aims to emulate Michael Dickinson and Paul Nicholls by dominating the blue riband event of the 2016 Festival.

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