Monkfish shines at Leopardstown as champion trainer Willie Mullins dominates Dublin Racing Festival by winning nine of the 15 races
- Monkfish produced the stand-out performance on the second day
- The gelding is now odds-on favourite for Cheltenham’s Festival Novices’ Chase
- Monkfish’s effortless victory meant Mullins took four of the six Grade One races
Monkfish produced the stand-out performance on the second day of a Dublin Racing Festival dominated by trainer Willie Mullins.
The imposing Paul Townend-ridden gelding is now odds-on favourite for Cheltenham’s three-mile Festival Novices’ Chase after trouncing old rival Latest Exhibition by 11 lengths in the Flogas Novice Chase.
Monkfish’s effortless victory meant Mullins took four of the six Grade One races at the Festival and other wins with Appreciate it, Grangee, Kemboy and Maze Runner meant the trainer won nine of 15 races across the meeting.
Monkfish’s effortless victory meant Willie Mullins took four of the six Grade One races
Mullins has now collected the Flogas Novices’ Chase eight times and admitted Monkfish, winner of last year’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Chase, deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as two of his best-known previous winners — Faugheen and Florida Pearl.
He said: ‘This fella has the same sort of potential. Everything is just so effortless. I was more impressed with him today than on any other day. He seems to be getting better.’
The icing on the cake for Mullins was the win of Danny Mullins-ridden Kemboy in the Irish Gold Cup as his two biggest rivals — Delta Work and Minella Indo — were let down by their jumping.
Coral reacted by trimming the Cheltenham Gold Cup odds of his stablemate Al Boum Photo to 3-1 favourite as he tries to win that race for the third successive season. Kemboy, who unseated his rider in the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup and was seventh last year, will not necessarily take him on.
Mullins said: ‘He’s entered in the Stayers’ Hurdle as well as the Gold Cup, as I’m just not sure if fences are his thing around Cheltenham. We were all wondering if we should try something different.’
lBookmakers were spared a massive pay-out when Gallahers Cross finished fourth in the final race at Musselburgh. The gelding, a 40-1 shot on Saturday night but sent off 4-5 favourite, had been placed in accumulator bets with Musselburgh winner Fire Away and Southwell scorer Blowing Dixie, who were the subject of similar price plunges.