Plenty in Yorkhill’s favour
The view from connections as the "hugely exciting" Yorkhill continues his education over fences at Leopardstown on Sunday.
Yorkhill: Heads the line-up at Leopardstown.
So impressive when winning the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at last season's Cheltenham Festival, the Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old bolted up on his chasing debut at Fairyhouse in December, despite showing a tendency to jump to his left.
Patrick Mullins, the champion trainer's son and assistant, expects Yorkhill to be more at home on a left-handed track as he takes his chance in an intriguing 'Money Back On Fallers' At Coral.ie Novice Chase.
He said: "We felt this was a nice race for him with it being a Grade Three over two miles and three (furlongs).
"It's a good little race. Anibale Fly brings good Grade One form to the table and both he and Gangster are rated 148, so our lad is probably going to have to run to a mark in the 150s to win.
"Going back left-handed should suit him and jumping round a track round Leopardstown will be a great experience for him.
"He's obviously hugely exciting, so hopefully he can continue his winning ways."
The Closutton handler also saddles Bellow Mome, who having looked the part on his fencing bow at Thurles, finished down the field in the Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas.
"He jumped so well in Thurles, but his jumping didn't stand up to Grade One standard in Leopardstown," Mullins added.
"We're bringing him back in trip and grade and hopefully he can regain a bit of confidence and run well."
Anibale Fly arguably sets the standard for trainer Tony Martin.
The seven-year-old made a successful start to his career over fences at Navan before filling the runner-up spot in the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse.
On the strength of that form, the JP McManus-owned gelding was favourite for the Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, but did not travel with any fluency and was eventually pulled up.
"It was good ground in Kempton. I couldn't believe how quick it was for Christmas time," said Martin.
"He was disappointing on the day, but he's a big horse who hits the ground hard and he just couldn't get into any sort of rhythm. Even going down to the first fence he looked like he was in trouble.
"We've been happy with him since and we'll let him take his chance on Sunday and see what happens.
"It's a good race, but on his run in the Drinmore he's well entitled to take them on."
Henry de Bromhead's Gangster has finished second to Mullins-trained runners the last twice in American Tom and Bleu Et Rouge.
The Mouse Morris-trained Baily Cloud and Jett from Jessica Harrington's stable complete the line-up.
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