Willie Mullins is looking to send some of his big guns into next months Baroneracing.com Hatton’s Grace Hurdle with dual Cheltenham festival winner Penhill and Mares Hurdle victor Benie Des Dieux looking primed for the contest.
Penhill is a mysterious horse for punters with the eight year old heading to Cheltenham twice in 2017 and 2018 for his first run of the season and going on to land back to back Grade ones in the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle and Stayers Hurdle.
Since his first run at the festival he has only been seen three times being patiently waited on by his trainer with his other two runs apart from at Prestbury Park coming in the Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown where he landed the spoils two years ago and finished a narrow second behind Faugheen in 2018.
Last season he suffered a training setback that saw him miss the whole season but Mullins seems to be happy with him again now and is ready to get him racing at Fairyhouse on December 1st.
(Credit At the Races) The trainer said: “Penhill has been brilliant, (son and assistant) Patrick (Mullins) rode him on Tuesday and he was good.
“We’re very pleased with his preparation so far.
“I’m happy that I changed tack this year in that I’m just going to go with him – we may as well find out early if he’s going to stay sound or not, but so far so good. He’s ready to go to Fairyhouse.”
Mullins is also planning on unleashing his star mare Benie Des Dieux in the same contest who has only suffered one defeat in her eight contests for the trainer since joining the yard from France and that came when crashing out at the last flight in last seasons Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Mullins added: “Benie goes for the Hatton’s Grace as well.
“The Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham is her aim, and we’ll see if there’s anything in between.
“I don’t know if there’s anything over fences that I want to win with her. She’s very good in this division. She’s a French Champion Hurdle winner over a trip, so I’m happy enough to stick at that with her.
“When the mares’ chase comes in (at Cheltenham, in 2021) it might be a different matter, but we’ll see!”