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Facile Vega tops Cheltenham shorteners after Dublin


Willie Mullins’ star bumper hope Facile Vega shot to favouritism for the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham after routing his opposition in Leopardstown’s traditionally important Grade 2 event on Saturday.

The five-year-old proved rampant in beating Sandor Clegane by twelve-lengths hard held, leapfrogging the Gordon Elliott-trained American Mike at the head of the betting for the division’s championship event at Cheltenham.

Having been available to back at 7-2 for the Champion Bumper before the off at Leopardstown, the son of Cheltenham legend Quevega is now a general odds-on chance to follow in his mother’s footsteps and land a major Festival prize, with only bet365, Unibet and Betfred willing to lay even money about Facile Vega’s Cheltenham chances.

Mullins enjoyed a fine Dublin Racing Festival, with several other Cheltenham hopes shortening up after impressive Leopardstown performances. They include Triumph Hurdle fancy Vauban (6-1 into 2-1 888sport) and potential Ballymore candidate Minella Cocooner (33-1 into 6-1, BetVictor). The Closutton maestro himself can be backed at 8-15 (William Hill) to retain his title as the Festival’s top trainer in March.