Cheltenham Festival 2015: Willie Mullins’ principal contenders

Notes on Willie Mullins’ main contenders for The Festival 2015:

HorseFestival entriesSummary
BUMPER HORSES*Weatherbys Champion Bumper closes on Feb 24
Au Quart De TourWCB*Comfortably won Fairyhouse bumper on Jan 11
Balko Des FlosWCB*Successful in Leopardstown bumper on Jan 18
BordiniWCB*Dual bumper winner, scoring in a Naas Listed contest on latest appearance on Dec 14
PylonthepressureWCB*Unbeaten in two bumper starts; impressive winner at Naas on Feb 7
Stone HardWCB*Dual bumper winner; won by 14 lengths at Gowran Park on Jan 22
Up For ReviewWCB*Won Leopardstown bumper by 10 lengths on Dec 28
Alvisio VilleSUP, NEPThird behind Nichols Canyon in G1 Deloitte Novices’ Hurdle (2m 2f) on Feb 8; easy maiden hurdle winner at Leopardstown on Dec 26
Arbre De VieNEP, ALBUnbeaten in two hurdle appearances for Willie Mullins, including facile 11-length win at Warwick on Feb 7
Black HerculesSUP, NEP, ALBFourth in last year’s Weatherbys Champion Bumper; unbeaten in two starts over hurdles, most recently when taking Cork G3 novices’ contest over three miles
DicosimoSUP, TRIWon 3YO Hurdle at Auteuil in October for Arnaud Chaille-Chaille; successful on debut for Willie Mullins in juvenile hurdle at Gowran Park on Jan 22
DouvanSUP, NEPHurdle winner in France before joining Willie Mullins; yet to be tested in two appearances in Ireland; easy winner of G2 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown on Jan 10
KalkirSUP, TRIImpressive winner of G3 juvenile hurdle at Fairyhouse on Nov 30; runner-up on two subsequent starts, including when beaten 1¾ lengths by Petite Parisienne in G1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown on Feb 8
Nichols CanyonSUP, NEP, ALBWon three out of four starts over hurdles including a pair of G1s  – the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse (2m) on Nov 30 & the Deloitte Novice Hurdle (2m 2f) on Feb 8; Unseated early on in G1 Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown on Dec 27; Listed winner over 15.5f on the Flat
OutlanderSUP, NEP, ALBComfortably won G2 novices’ hurdle (2m 4f) at Leopardstown on Jan 25; runner-up in Limerick G3 novices’ hurdle (3m) on Dec 29;
Petite ParisienneTRILost maiden tag with 1¾-length victory over Kalkir in G1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle (2m) at Leopardstown on Feb 8;  runner-up in Punchestown juvenile hurdle on Dec 31; Listed placed on Flat in France
ShaneshillSUP, NEP, ALBSecond in G2 Navan Novice Hurdle on Dec 14; easy winner of Fairyhouse maiden hurdle on Nov 14; runner-up in 2014 Weatherbys Champion Bumper & successful in G1 Punchestown Champion Bumper
Tell Us MoreSUP, NEP, ALBHeaded near line when second in G1 Lawlor’s Hotel Novice Hurdle (2m 4f) at Naas on Jan 4; made all to take Gowran Park novices’ hurdle (2m) on Nov 22
Don PoliNHC, RSA, JLTUnbeaten in two appearances over fences including game victory over Apache Stronghold in G1 Topaz Novice Chase (3m) at Leopardstown on Dec 29; won Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle at The Festival in 2014;
Gitane Du BerlaisARK, JLT, OLBGFaultless record over fences, with two wins headed by 8l success in G1 Betfred TV Scilly Isles Novices Chase (2m 4f+) at Sandown Park on Jan 31
Un De SceauxARK, CHAFell on chase debut but subsequently imperious in both starts over fences, headed by 15l victory in G1 Arkle Novice Chase (2m 1f) at Leopardstown on Jan 25; Unbeaten in 9 starts over hurdles and in bumpers
Valseur LidoNHC, RSA, JLTWent down by ½l to Apache Stronghold in G1 Flogas Novice Chase (2m 5f) at Leopardstown on Feb 8; readily beat same horse in G1 Drinmore Novice Chase (2m 4f) at Fairyhouse on Nov 30; G2 winner over hurdles; 10th in 2014 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
VautourARK, RSA, JLTMade all when taking G2 Killiney Novice Chase (2m 3f) at Leopardstown on Jan 18; second at same course in G1 Racing Post Novice Chase (2m 1f) on Dec 26; stunning 6l winner of Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival in 2014
Vroum Vroum MagNHC, RSA, JLTThree out of three in chases since joining Willie Mullins; won G2 mares’ novice chase (2m 4f) by 26l at Clonmel on Jan 15
Annie PowerCHA, OLBG, WORWon 11 of 12 starts under Rules; only defeat came when second (beaten 1½l) to More Of That in last year’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle; has not run due to injury since taking G1 Mares Hurdle (2m 2f) at Punchestown in May
Arctic FireCHARunner-up in the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle at The Festival in 2014; behind Hurricane Fly last twice, including when 3½l second in G1 Irish Champion Hurdle (2m) on Jan 25; beaten 5l into third by Irving in Fighting Fifth Hurdle (2m) at Newcastle on Nov 29
FaugheenCHAUnbeaten in eight stars; 4½l winner of Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival in 2014; two from two this season, including 8l victory over Purple Bay in G1 Christmas Hurdle (2m) at Kempton Park on Boxing Day
Glens MelodyOLBGRunner-up to Quevega in OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at The Festival in 2014; cruised to eighth success over hurdles in Listed event (2m 5f) at Warwick on Feb 7; won G1 Mares Hurdle (2m 2f) at Punchestown in May, 2013
Hurricane Fly

(pictured top)

CHAWon Stan James Champion Hurdle in 2011 & 2013; also 3rd in 2012 and 4th in 2014; world record holder for number of G1 wins (22); unbeaten in three starts this season and won G1 Irish Champion Hurdle (2m) for fifth time at Leopardstown on Jan 25
Boston BobRYAN, GOLDMade frame in all four starts this season, most recently taking fourth (beaten 10l) behind Carlingford Lough in Irish Hennessy (3m) at Leopardstown on Feb 8; completed G1 double in April, annexing Melling Chase (2m 4f) at Aintree and Gold Cup (3m 1f) at Punchestown
Champagne FeverQM, RYAN, GOLDTwo wins and a second from three starts at The Festival, scoring in the 2012 Weatherbys Champion Bumper and 2013 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle; beaten a head in the 2014 Racing Post Arkle Chase; easily won G2 Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park on Feb 14
DjakadamRYAN, GOLDJustified tall reputation with impressive 8l victory under top-weight in Thyestes Handicap Chase (3m 1f) at Gowran Park on Jan 22; faded to eighth (beaten 28l) when favourite for Hennessy Gold Cup (3m 2f+) at Newbury in November; won first two starts over fences last season before falling in JLT Novices’ Chase at The Festival
On His OwnGOLDShort-head runner-up to Lord Windermere in last year’s Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup; second (beaten 1½l) to Road To Riches in G1 Lexus Chase (3m) at Leopardstown over Christmas; beaten favourite when sixth in Hennessy Gold Cup over same CD on Feb 8



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