David Mullins: Pre-Cheltenham Festival Blog

David Mullins: Pre-Cheltenham Festival Blog


I have had a great season so far, and I'm getting rewarded with some exciting prospects at Cheltenham, where going into the Festival, things are going really well for me, having four wins in my last four rides, including two wins at Limerick over the weekend with THELOBSTERCATCHER yesterday and TONGIE on Saturday. 


In tomorrow's main race, the Champion Hurdle, I will be on SEMPRE MEDICI, who has had a decent season so far, including a second place finish against OLD GUARD. He's had two comfortable wins since then and goes into the festival fresh, so I think he can impress on the day. 


In the Mares Hurdle tomorrow, I will ride AURORE D'ESTRUVAL for Rebecca Curtis, who I had a winner with two weeks ago at Chepstow, and now she's giving me a ride at Cheltenham where I think we have a great chance. I worked AURORE D'ESTRUVAL after Chepstow and was very impressed with her, so there's no reason why we can't do well tomorrow. 


If he gets in, I'll be on MOUNT GUNNERY in the Novices Handicap Chase, who could stand a great chance. He's been in great form at home with Pat Fahy and if he runs, I think he can have a big race. He'll improve on better ground and is also much fresher since the last day. 


On Wednesday, I could have SWAMP FOX in the Fred Winter if he gets in. He can do well here, after a nice run in his handicap three weeks ago at Naas. He's only 10-4 at the moment, and can still claim three pounds in Handicaps at Cheltenham, but saying that, he still needs to get in. 


In Friday's County Handicap Hurdle, I'm riding FETHARD PLAYER, who is a good, consistent horse and is a good handicapper who will love the better ground as well as the big stage of Cheltenham. 


At the moment, there are still lots of decisions to be made, so I am still not completely sure who I will be riding in a number this week's races, but I'm hoping Willie will give me a few good rides in the Novice Hurdles. 


In the Gold Cup, I think Don Cossack is the horse to beat. Although he doesn't have the best record around Cheltenham, he's got the best form in the book and I feel he'd have won at Kempton if he didn't fall. A dilemma Ruby has is whether he'll go for DJAKADAM or VAUTOUR and If I had the choice I'd choose DJAKADAM. He's a lot more experienced and is a year older, stronger and wiser after running so well in the same race last year. I don't think the fall at Cheltenham earlier this season will bother him and his cut has healed nicely. He does his better work later on, so I think he has a great chance to win this year's Gold Cup. There could be a small chance I get on SIR DES CHAMPS, but we'll find out nearer the time. 


Things are getting very exciting now and with just one day to go, the wait is nearly over. Hopefully all the horses travel over safely and then we can look forward to a great week of racing. You'll be able to read my thoughts throughout the week in my Racing FX Cheltenham blogs.