Festival Outing Still In The Balance for Mikael D'Haguenet

Tags: Cheltenham Festival 2016

Published: 14:47 01/03/2010

Trainer Willie Mullins schooled several of his high class inmates after racing took place at Leopardstown on Sunday but is still undecided about risking his exciting prospect Mikael D'Haguenet at Cheltenham in two weeks time. Ridden by Ruby Walsh Mikael D'Haguenet worked in a group of four which included Ryanair hopeful J'Y Vole and although his handler thought him " a bit slow " at a couple of fences it was nonetheless a satisfactory workout. Winner of the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at last years festival the horse has not been seen in public since a comfortable victory in Punchestown's Grade 1 Land Rover Champion Novice Hurdle last May. Yet to race over fences in Britain or Ireland the french bred finished second in a chase at Auteuil back in 2008 as a four year old before joining the Willie Mullins stable. Entered in the Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase and the RSA Chase it is likely the latter event will be the target if allowed to compete at the festival, as the 2m trip of the former may be on the sharp side. Regarded by many as the most anticipated race of the festival the RSA Chase is almost certain to live up to its billing as the novices " Gold Cup " with one of the strongest fields likely to go to post for some years. Nicky Hendersons' Punchestown, the current ante-post favourite, proved himself a stayer of the highest quality when chasing home Big Bucks in the 2009 World Hurdle and will be unbeaten over fences come March 17th. With the exciting french bred Long Run a likely runner together with several other talented prospects, including Diamond Harry and Weird Al, the outcome of the race may signal a significant challenge to Kauto Star, Denman, and co. next season. William Hill are now offering best odds guaranteed on all races at the Cheltenham Festival

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