Mullins To Remain Totally Dominant
Punters have one last golden opportunity to hit the jackpot on the final day of the 2015 Punchestown Festival, courtesy of the Setanta Sports Handicap Hurdle (5.35).
And, for those who like to take on the favourite, then good news arrives in that each of the last 10 winners of this race were priced 6/1 to 20/1.
Of the last 10 Setanta Handicap winners…
10 were non-favourites
9 carried 10st10lb or less
9 were 5-8yo’s
W Mullins won it five times
Mullins Sends Warrior Into Battle
With weight having also proven difficult to carry in this 2m4f event down the years, several names start to emerge on the short-list, including Willie Mullins’ Clondaw Warrior (10/1), who was a close runner-up in a valuable handicap at Fairyhouse last month (2m, yielding) and does have form over further from his younger days.
Further up the weights, Mullins has Arbre De Vie (11/2) entered on 11st6lb, and he showed improved form on each of his last three runs, winning two minor races, before a highly creditable third in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham in March (3m, soft). Stamina will prove no issue for this 5yo, and he looks one of the more interesting ones from the top of the handicap.
Martin The Handicap King
But, in order of winning this handicap, Mullins will have to get past a couple of Tony Martin runners in Mydor (16/1) and Marinero (12/1). Of the pair, Mydor has the more likeable profile having won a couple of handicaps in January. He showed himself to still be in form when third (of 18) in a decent handicap at Fairyhouse (2m6f, soft), and any rain would aid his cause.
The Brits ended the domestic domination of this race 12 months ago, which has encouraged Jonjo O’Neill to bring over The Saint James (7/1), who was a close runner-up in a valuable handicap at Aintree several weeks ago (2m4f, good to soft) – for the record, Willie Mullins’, Daneking (10/1), was 1l back in third.
David Pipe also has Monetaire (16/1), whom he tries in blinkers having unseated over fences at Aintree last time. Prior to that, this 9yo was a close second in a Grade 3 handicap chase at Cheltenham (2m5f, good), and returns to hurdles on an 8lb lower mark.
It’s hard to argue with Willie Mullins record in this race, and he has a number of interesting runners for punters to consider, though Clondaw Warrior is the one who stands out at 10/1. His close runner-up slot at Fairyhouse showed him to be in form, and he may be suited by this return to 2m4f (bumper winner over 2m3f).
*Prices correct at time of publication.