If you are going to place a bet on a big festival like Cheltenham or Punchestown, it pays to back the horses put out by Willie Mullins.
The Irish trainer often comes up trumps on the big stage, and in his ongoing battle with Gordon Elliott to be named top Irish trainer this season the stakes could not be higher.
And so he – along with any punters that were on board – would have been delighted with his efforts on day two of the Punchestown Festival on Wednesday.
Mullins notched six winners – not bad given that there were only seven races on the day – to boost his prize money haul by some €500,000 and leap ahead of Elliott in the rankings.
Perhaps more eye-catchingly for punters, an accumulator bet on all six horses would have landed a bounty of 9,800/1!
Willie’s Super 6
Wednesday actually got off to a rather inauspicious start when Matthew Smith’s Prince Garyantle took the honours in the first, but from there it was a procession for Mullins.
Pravalaguna returned the Irishman to the winner’s circle next up thanks to a fine ride from Paul Townend, who more than made up for his mishap earlier in the week.
Next Destination and Bellshill were next over the line – the latter winning a fantastic renewal of the Punchestown Gold Cup and securing Mullins a handsome paycheque.
Tornado Flyer took the spoils from stablemate and bookies’ favourite Blackbow in the next to secure a lucrative 1-2 for the Irish yard, and Patrick’s Park and Colreevy completed the day of dreams for Mullins in the last two.
The festival continues on Thursday and right through to Saturday, and it is Friday’s card that looks particularly interesting for punters eyeing their own Mullins miracle….
Friday, I’m In Love
Kemboy looked really impressive last time out at Limerick, winning a Group 3 affair by some eight lengths, and he looks set to be Mullins’ first winner on an action-packed Friday.
The 4:20 also features another Mullins powerhouse, Up For Review, and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the 9/1 chance could give Kemboy a real run for his money.
The standout race of the day is the Champion Hurdle, and a fantastic duel looks to be on the cards here between Elliott’s outstanding Samcro and Mullins’ Melon.
Samcro is the odds-on favourite and why not: the unbeaten six-year-old has been so impressive of late, and looked red hot in claiming the Ballymore at Cheltenham in March.
But here he is stepping up to play with the big boys, and Melon – while without a win in three – has been in Group 1 company for a while.
Elliott will expect to take the honours in the next courtesy of Pallasator, but the last two races of the day could well go Mullins’ way.
In the International Novice Hurdle he runs a pair of promising sorts in Antey and Deal D’Estruval, while in the last he plays a double-hand with Dorrells Pierji and Southern Nights.
It could be another fantastic day for Mullins….and punters too!