TWE Cheltenham Treble

Benie Des Dieux

Arguably the greatest mare that Willie Mullins has ever had acquired is this nine-year-old, having joined the Irish trainer back in 2016.

Benie Des Dieux is a favourite to many punters but she also has given plenty of the racing world one of the worst days in there betting careers.

However, this season at Cheltenham she can put that right having just improved and improved throughout her time in Ireland now being one of the most feared horses in the sport.

Having been a fairly useful horse in France she has jumped into a new league since her move across the pond.

She started life under Mullins at Limerick just before the turn of the year in a Beginners Chase where she was effortlessly brilliant.

Rich Ricci has been known during his owning tenor to acquire some unbelievable talents and after that first run, he knew he had scooped up another one.

Strangely she went to Carlisle next, which is somewhere Mullins does not normally take his horses, but he entered her in a Listed Mares Chase where again she bolted up.

She had one final start over fences that season in another Listed Mares Chase at Naas this time and it was the same outcome.

What her trainer did with her next was a shock to most as she was taken to the Cheltenham festival, not having a run over hurdles all season and she was entered into the Grade One Mares Hurdle.

All the talk was about Apple’s Jade in the lead up to the contest, but the young pretender jumped over the last and stayed on stoutly up the hill to land her first British black type contest.

She saw out that season in style when landing her second Grade One under Mullins in the Annie Power Mares Hurdle, extending her unbeaten run under the trainer to five races.

Mullins knew how much of a talented he had required and kept her very fresh in her next season with her being seen for the first time at the Cheltenham festival where the trainer and jockey Ruby Walsh announced she was there best chance of a winner all week.

Punters laid into her at a short price and nearly everyone at the festival and watching at home had backed her and coming into the final hurdle in clear isolation everyone was counting their money.

However, in one of the worst betting days in the sport Benie Des Dieux jumped the shadow of the last flight and tumbled to the floor to leave Prestbury Park in utter shock.

Fortunately for connections she was perfectly fine after the fall and Mullins wanted to see her back in the winner’s enclosure as soon as possible.

So, he sent her to the Punchestown festival again for the second season running, in the same contest she won the year before and she got back to her best landing the event with complete ease.

Mullins was not done with her for the season yet and sent her back over to France for the French Champion Hurdle where she was also upped to three miles for the first time in her career for the Grade One Grande Course de Haies d’Auteuil and she saw off all challengers to impressively take the spoils.

Benie Des Dieux is a horse of a lifetime and with rumours she was going straight to Cheltenham again this season punters were apprehensive again.

However, the Cheltenham hall of fame handler sent her to Gowran Park last week in the Grade Two Galmoy Hurdle and in a strong fielded event she bolted up by 21 lengths proven how good she is at three miles once again.

Envoi Allen

Envoi Allen is unbeaten in all seven of his contests which include a point to point, four bumper wins including the Grade One Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham festival and since his switch to hurdles he has swept the field aside on three occasions.

Three starts ago after winning nicely at Down Royal on his debut he went on to win in the Grade One Royal Bond Novices Hurdle at Fairyhouse over two miles seeing off his stablemate Abacadabras who has since gone on to win nicely franking the form.

Having not been tried over two and half miles but ever shortening in the Ballymore market, Gordon Elliott sent his horse to Naas in the Grade One Lawlor’s of Naas Novices Hurdle where he went on to win very comfortably staking his claim as one of the bankers of the festival.

Paisley Park

Paisley Park came onto the scene last season at Aintree when he took a Class 2 Handicap over two and a half miles, from there it was unthinkable of what progression he could of actually produced but he stepped up in trip to three miles and took to it like a duck to water.

Arguably one of his greatest runs during the season was on his second start when he landed the Grade Three Handicap Hurdle at Haydock, somehow getting up late in the day to see off two other horses.

Ascot was next on the agenda in the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle and this was the geldings biggest test to date and he did what he does best coming from off the pace and off the bridle early to steam up by the leaders late in the day and land the contest.

Paisley Park landing the Grade 1 was the yards first-ever black-type victory which was huge for Emma Lavelle as she is a fairly small yard compared to others in the sport and it was a huge occasion for connections also, with his owner Andrew Gemmell being blind.

Cheltenham was next up in the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle with the overall goal being the Stayers Hurdle at the festival with this being seen as a prep run and he bolted up again, leaving his odds for the four-day meeting slashed massively.

March came around quickly and Paisley Park was being labelled one of the bankers of the week, which is unheard of in a big fielded race like the Stayers Hurdle but like he had done all season he hacked up and it turned out to be one of the fairy-tale moments of the 2019 Cheltenham festival.

Now a fan favourite, many punters were very apprehensive about where he would start off his campaign this season with the big aim again being to defend his Stayers Hurdle title.

He started this season in the same form as last term by extending his unbeaten run to six races after seeing off some top horses including Thistlecrack when landing the Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.

Last time out he headed back to Prestbury Park to retain his title in the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle where he put in a workman like performance to take the contest.

The win looked more impressive than his first run of the season with his jumping being better than it ever has been and he looks sure to give another stand out performance at a track he loves.