Willie Mullins looks all set for another all-conquering campaign and he talked us through 35 members of his Closutton team in his 2018-19 Stable Tour.
"I haven't discussed things with (owners) Simon Munir, Isaac Souede or indeed (racing manager) Anthony Bromley yet. He can do any trip from two miles to three miles. I'm thinking we might start him off over two miles and then let him out to two and a half. Three miles at Christmas for the King George is a possibility, but a lot will depend on how he comes out of his first two races."
Un De Sceaux
"He has come back strong, he has come back huge. I'd imagine he is going to have the same sort of targets as last year. We skipped the Tingle Creek last year and went to Cork for the Hilly Way. He will be entered in those two races, and we'll decide nearer the time which way he goes."
"He will have a similar type of programme to last year. He ran a fantastic race at Liverpool, I was just looking at it the other day. He could go back for that race again this season, but it's a long way down the road. Two miles to two and a half will be his trip, I don't think we will be going any longer with him."
"He is going to stick to what he did last year. Two miles will be his trip and we will try to keep himself and Un De Sceaux apart for as long as we can."
Benie Des Dieux
"Benie could do anything. She is a fantastic jumper. We would love to go chasing with her, but what I want to do is keep her for the mares' hurdles. I think she might mix it a little bit. We kept her sound all last year and I think she is probably easier to keep sound over hurdles. The Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham would, in my view at the moment, be her aim, unless something changes in the meantime."
"I think she will probably stick to mares' races for the season."
"The Champion Hurdle is the route we are going to go with her. She might start off in the race at Ascot (the Coral Hurdle) that Annie Power won. That's half a plan for us at the moment, and then go down the Champion Hurdle route. If not she will come back for the Mares' Hurdle."
"He is great and we are very, very pleased with him. We haven't really decided whether we will go novice chasing or hurdling. I would say hurdling is favourite at the moment, but once again I have to talk to Rich. He was over here last week and was delighted with how he looked. We just said we'd leave it for another while until the horse has started to do fast work. As much as I'd like to go chasing, he might be better off staying hurdling."
"We are going to go down the Champion Hurdle route again with him this year. I think he will improve from what he did last year, which leaves him right up there at the top of it. I think what he learned at Cheltenham will be huge when it comes back around to it again this season."
"I am very happy with how he has come out of his summer's rest. He is one that I'm going to try to make a Gold Cup horse out of this year, he'll go down that route, staying chases."
Al Boum Photo
"He improved all year. I think I will have to aim him for a Gold Cup, whether it's in Leopardstown or Cheltenham. That's the route he will go down, he is a staying chaser, he has lots of ability and is improving all the time."
"His aim will be to go back to Aintree again this season. The whole year will be aimed around going for the Aintree National. I thought I had him nailed on for the Irish National last year, but Malcolm (Denmark, owner) wanted to go to Aintree, and on the evidence of last year we were so close. Hopefully this year."
"He was very good in Cheltenham. He would look to me to be a Grand National horse as well, whether it's the Irish or English. He will run in handicap chases on the way to one of the Nationals."
"I have to start him over fences. He had a funny year last year, nothing went right for him. The potential he showed this time last year, we didn't get that out of him at all. I think I'll keep him at three miles over fences. He jumps a bit left and we are going to have to try to control that, but maybe if he is in better form or better order this year, we might be able to manage it. We certainly were able to manage it up to last year anyway."
"He is going to be a bit harder to place because obviously he is probably at the top of his mark. He ran very well in the Gold Cup before he came down, we thought he was going to have a first three finish maybe. That puts him in line for a lot of Grade Two or Grade Three races. It might be tough for him to break through to Grade One. There might be a good handicap in him. He is entered in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury, but that's probably not realistic. He could possibly go for something like the Troytown or the Thyestes."
"We will start him off in handicaps. If I can get a run into him before the Ladbrokes Trophy I will. If he runs well there then he could make the jump up. He is certainly a horse that has improved and is still improving."
"I feel I have to go back chasing with him. We can always go back hurdling if things don't work out. I think he deserves another chance chasing."
"He will definitely be going over fences. He looks every inch a chaser."
"He will go chasing, too. He has matured hugely and I'm looking forward to him going over fences."
"I have a Champion Hurdle sort of career marked out for him down the line, but I'm not sure whether he will do it this season or not. We might try different races and different trips for him this term. If he is good enough he will get an entry in the Champion Hurdle. We think he is a really nice horse, but maybe in a year's time he will be better able for that race. We might just have intermediate races for him in the meantime."
"Initially after Punchestown I thought, 'I am going to stay hurdling with him', but we schooled him over fences the other day and he was very, very good. So we are going to go chasing with him."
"We will plan the same sort of route as Saldier. He is not a chasing type, so he will stay hurdling, and will probably be a staying hurdler in time."
"He is very sharp and very good. I'm hoping he will be good enough for the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse. We will take it from there and hopefully he will be able to go down that two-mile novice route."
"His point-to-point and bumper runs made a huge difference at Galway, as he was very experienced horse in a race like that. He wants two and a half miles plus, and he can go out to three miles. Staying novice hurdles are the route for him."
"He looked very, very good at the weekend. I know he got beaten in a bumper at Galway, but I just thought we ran him in the wrong bumper there. He has settled in over hurdles and is another one that will be going for the Royal Bond. I always thought with his pedigree that he was going to be a staying novice hurdler, but what he showed me the other day is that he has plenty of speed. His temperament probably means that two miles is probably plenty for him at this stage. Until he learns to relax more in his races, I would think we will stick to the minimum trip."
Mister Blue Sky
"He impressed me hugely at Wexford. For a four-year-old coming off the Flat to jump the way he did and to race the way he did, I think this fellow is top notch."
"Every day of the week he is going to be a stayer. He is a chaser and will be a staying novice hurdler for this season."
"He can go up to two and a half miles, and if he is good enough to be a Ballymore horse, he can go to two-mile-five. He should be good enough for that. He has the speed to be a two-mile novice hurdler, but we will see when he goes jumping what he is able to do."
"He is a horse we have huge time for and watching him go around there, he has a huge stride. He will go the same route as we tried to go with him last year. I don't have any idea where he will start off until this weather changes. I want wet ground for him before he starts off."
"He looks every inch a chaser. He looks like a staying novice chaser, or hurdler for this year. However, he is by Stowaway and his racing attitude means he will be probably be better off over two miles for the time being."
"Looking at her around here, she never impresses. I'd imagine she is going to be a staying novice hurdler. I'd imagine if she is good enough we might aim her at the Grade One mares' hurdle at Fairyhouse at Easter over two and a half miles."
"He is doing great work at home here and looks a really nice bumper horse. He looks really good and we are going down the bumper route with him."
"She looked very good when she won. I know she got beaten at Killarney, but Patrick (Mullins) blamed himself for that day. We think she is very good and we will try to stick to those mares' bumpers with her."
"Cadmium is good. I think there is a novice chase coming up for him at Punchestown, so Ruby (Walsh) and David (Mullins) were telling me the other morning. We will keep upping him in grade, if he is able for it."
"He is with a girl who does work with him and he is scheduled to be back around Christmas time."
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