Rich Ricci's Top Five Horses To Watch This Season

Rich Ricci is one of the leading national hunt horse racing owners in the world and this season has one of his best teams that will head to the Cheltenham festival in a long time.

With the majority of his horses being trained by Willie Mullins they have a very strong relationship and is even now having winners on the flat, most recently this weekends £500,000 Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket.

But with the flat season ending this weekend and the jumps season ready to take off we have had a look at the owners horses and picked the top five of his runners to watch out for the season.

DOUVAN

First up is Douvan, this horse was primed to be one of the next best horses when he was a youngster and boy did he not disappoint. He first really came on the racing scene when winning the Supreme Novices Hurdle on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival in March 2015.

From there he went on to blitz tracks left, right and centre winning 14 straight races in a row over both hurdles and then stepping up to a chaser he gave the same conclusion.

Some of his victories included The Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival, Maghull Novices Chase and the Ryanair Novice Chase, where in total he won 10 Grade 1 races across England and Ireland.

He then went back to Cheltenham for the third year in a row in search of the Queen Mother champion Chase. However, he picked up an injury in running and finished way back in the field and since then he wasn't seen again until the year after at the Cheltenham Festival again.

No one knew what he was going to be like but in the running of again the Queen Mother he looked smart and ready, but made one mistake and fell horribly.

This year after having a whole summer off to strengthen and mature and prepare properly for the jumps season ahead. We think Douvan will be back to his best this season and worth keeping an eye on.

BENIE DES DIEUX

Next up is Benie Des Dieux that last year really came into her own and became an outstanding hurdler but this was not always the case for the mare as before she was bought by Rich Ricci and given to Willie Mullins to train she didn't have a great record.

But since joining the Mullins yard she is unbeaten and looks to be an outstanding horse. Her claim to fame last season that really turned heads was when she went on to win the OLBG Mares Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival beating the favourite that day and top mare in her division Apples Jade.

She then went and beat her again at the Punchestown festival in the Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle. She is now unbeaten in all her five runs for Willie Mullins and she is primed to be even better this season and one to watch out for.

ANNAMIX

This next horse is a bit of an unknown entity in regards to the racing world but this has been put in this top five to watch out for because this is the horse that has actually come from Rich Ricci himself to be the horse to watch out for out of all horses that he owns.

Annamix has only ever raced once in France but from there was bought by Rich Ricci and changed trainers to Willie Mullins but is still yet to be unleashed into the racing world under the dangerous partnership of Mullins and Ricci.

He was supposed to be seen last year but was not quite up to the standards of what they wanted from him but this is his year and his owner really thinks he is a special horse.

(Credit ITV Racing)

FAUGHEEN

Fan favourite and one of the all time great national hunt horses Faugheen the Machine will be back for another season and he gets into every top five to watch out for every season in the Ricci owned category just for how good on his day this horse is.

His owner has said he is in great shape again primed for another season after last year returning for the first time since the start of 2016 after picking up a huge injury which set him back substantially.

Faugheen out of his 18 races in his career has won 14 of them, this is outstanding in any form of horse racing but the majority of these wins have been in Grade 1 races.

His last race at the Punchestown Festival showed off his true potential again after not having a great season coming back after a lengthy time out of the game but he went on to win the Champion Stayers Hurdle, with his owner planing on keeping him over that distance this season.

Faugheen is a special horse and ca hopefully have another fine season that could possibly top his early work as a race horse.

SALDIER

The final one to watch from the Mullins yard and owned by Rich Ricci is Saldier and this horse really hasn't been a special one that has come out of this partnership but this season could really be his break through one.

Last season he showed clear improvement from his two previous years and really competed well in some tough Grade 1 contests.

He went to Cheltenham and was outclassed in the Champion Hurdle but definitely learned a lot from the run. As in his last run of the season he went on to pick up the Grade 1 Four Year Old Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival and show clear potential for next season.

It looks like he will have another crack this year at the Champion Hurdle at the festival in March and it would not be a surprise to see him feature at a big price and Mullins pulling off another special training performance. Definitely one to keep an eye out for next season.

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