Sunday Races: It’s a Willie wonderland…

Some great Sunday racing in Ireland, and although it is very much the early days of the jumps season, we turn our day of worship to training maestro Willie Mullins in hope of a tasty Sunday roast of the bookies.

The great man saddles the market leaders in the day’s two big races and there are good reasons for thinking both have even better chances than the markets already suggest.

At Limerick they are holding the Munster National, and our initial though was the Joseph O’Brien trained Arkwrisht.  He was probably unlucky not to beat our tip Potters Prince in the Kerry National after losing his irons late on.  He has to have a good chance, but he could be foiled again as Willie provides the joker in the pack.

Total Recall was trained by Sandra Hughes last year and ran with credit in a number of decent novice events, finishing a fair 5th at Naas when last seen in February.  A long absence since suggests a few problems, but the switch to Willie is of great interest.  Even on old form the horse would have a decent chance, if Willie can extract some improvement, and with Ruby Walsh up top, then this mark of 129 could be made to look very lenient.

The stiff climbs of Navan racecourse inherit the gruelling Irish Cesarewitch during the redevelopment of the Curragh.  The 2m handicap on softish ground around here should be some test, but again it’s Willie who could hold the mystery card.

Gustavus Vassa is the market leader and is unusual in many ways for Willie.  He is owned by Highclere Syndicates, a mostly UK based and flat racing based operation, and is a lightly raced 3yo who has not yet seen a jump.  Whilst Willie has had success all year switching some of his jumpers back to the flat, this one comes entirely from a flat background.

He didn’t see a track until gamely winning over 10f on debut for a different trainer, he followed that with decent second and third placings, when staying on well.  Now he gets his first run for Willie, and like Total Recall, we will be hoping to see some improvement.  The step up from 10f to 16f is huge and presumably would not have been considered unless Willie felt the horse was a true stayer.  A mark of 86 could be very generous under the circumstances.


Gustavus Vassa, (1715 Naas), 1pt win, 5/1 generally available

Total Recall, (1625 Limerick), 1pt win, 9/2 Coral

Gustavus Vassa & Total Recall, 1pt win double, approx. 32/1

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