Mullins Hurdle Hat-Trick May Go By Him

Sunday’s second hot dish for punters to get stuck into at Leopardstown comes in the shape of the Coral Hurdle at 2.25pm where Willie Mullins, who won this race in 2011 and 2013, holds a good chance of success again with Kalkir (6/1).

Kalkir To Overcome Trends For Mullins?
This 5yo earned his place at the head of the betting having been placed in a couple of Grade 1/2’s last season, before being pulled up when last seen at Cheltenham in March. Freshened up since, he looks to have been targeted for Sunday, although he’ll need to overcome some trends, as a 5yo favourite carrying 11st who hasn’t run in 310 days, which isn’t an ideal profile for past winners.

Coral Hurdle Trends
Of the last 10 winners…
10 carried 10st10lb or lighter
10 were officially rated 128 or lower
10 were non-favourites
10 arrived via Punchestown, Leopardstown or Fairyhouse
9 were 6-8yo
8 ran in a handicap last time
Mrs J Harrington and W Mullins won it twice each

One with a more likeable trends profile is Gordon Elliott’s 7yo Desoto County (10/1), who arrives in top form having won a handicap at Thurles last month (2m, heavy). He runs off a 10lb higher mark on Sunday, but is going the right way.

Martin’s Improver To Go By Them For Success?
Another that catches the eye from a juicy weight of 10st6lb is Tony Martin’s Whatsforuwontgobyu (10/1), who also boasts winning form following a novice handicap win over C&D three weeks ago (heavy) – Herminator (10/1) was beaten over 6l. That was by far a career best, and the fact he was not even extended suggests he’ll cope from a 10lb higher mark.

On the subject of winning form, Noel Meade goes into battle with improving 6yo novice De Name Escapes Me (10/1), a winner of both races this season. While he’ll need to brush up on his jumping having made a few errors in a novice at Fairyhouse last time (2m4f, heavy), he is respected, as is stablemate Ice Cold Soul (12/1) who won a handicap over 2m2f here on Boxing Day (heavy).

French Victory In The Mud?
The ability to handle heavy ground will be vital come Sunday, and while Vive La France’s last outing saw him win a decent handicap at the Galway Festival in July (2m, yielding), he is an ex-French winner on testing ground.

He looks to have been put away for this assignment and any confidence in the market could prove key.

Elsewhere, there is an interesting entry from Aidan O’Brien with Tigris River (20/1), a winner of three of his six hurdles to date, and runner-up in a valuable handicap at Listowel in September (2m, heavy). He’ll handle these conditions and will strip fitter for his outing over Christmas.

Recommended Bets
A vintage renewal chock-full of last time out winners, but Whatsforuwontgobyu stands out. He pulverized the opposition in a handicap last time – a race in which the fourth has already come out and won – and he looks capable of much more.

*Prices correct at time of publication.