The new Champion Chaser and arguably the top 2-miler in the world of racing at the moment, The Willie Mullins trained Energumene cemented himself at the top of the pecking order with a superb victory at Cheltenham in the Grade 1 Champion Chase.
That race proved a slight disappointment for neutrals with a very poor run of Shishkin who has since been confirmed he had a slight issue after the race, one of the reasons he didn’t run his true race, plus the unfortunate unseating of Patrick Mullins by Chacun Pour Soi.
However, Energumene, under a previously untried, patient ride by Paul Townend, surged clear in the closing stages to win by 8½ lengths despite the attritional conditions at Cheltenham that day after a morning and afternoon full of rain.
Revenge would have felt sweet for the Mullins yard, who had seen the eight-year-old defeated so narrowly by Shishkin at Ascot in that fantastic Clarence House Chase, a race that will really live long in the memory of every national hunt racing fan.
Though now there are no underdogs, and he will have to prove his worth at the top of the tree by landing another Grade 1 this season.
It will be no mean feat were he to beat Chacun Pour Soi in Ireland, as many a talented horse has fallen by the wayside against that rival. However, Energumene is a special horse, the sort that doesn't really come around very often.
The 8-length winner of the Champion Chase last time out, one of the leading 2-milers in training at the moment, has a worthy adversary in Chacun Pour Soi in this, but with the younger legs and class performance last time out, he is the one to beat in this.