Willie Mullins Looking To Keep Benie Des Dieux Over Fences Next Season

Rich Ricci

Willie Mullins eight year old hurdling sensation Benie Des Dieux may be permanently switched to fences next season off the back of her superb run in the French Champion Hurdle at Auteuil.

The sparkling mare who we all know was one of the big talking points at this year's Cheltenham festival after falling at the final flight in the Grade 1 Mares Hurdle but since then she has done more than enough to make up for that fall winning the Mares Hurdle at the Punchestown festival and then beating the highly rated French exploit De Bon Coer last weekend.

Mullins expressed after the race that he believed that her triumph in the French Champion Hurdle was the best win of her career to date with still plenty to come from the eight year old.

With this move from her trainer to potentially run her over fences next season it offers of plenty of different races for the mare to be involved in next season, especially at the big festivals.

She is unbeaten on all three of her starts over fences in her career, but has not jumped a fence in public since winning in a Listed chase at Naas in February last year.

(Credit - Racing Post) Mullins said: "I was thrilled with Benie. When you look at the calibre of horses she beat, especially De Bon Coeur who I have an awful lot of respect for, you would have to say it was a very, very good performance and possibly one of her best ever."

Willie Mullins Horse Trainer

The decision will not be made until the start of next season but if the Mullins team do decide to go forward with putting the Cheltenham festival winner over fences her prime target could be the Ladbroke Trophy at Newbury.

This race is very familiar to the trainer winning it back in 2018 with Total Recall who went on to run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same season.

The Rich Ricci owned mare would have a chasing mark of 147 if she was to go over fences which looks a superb starting point for the mare.

Mullins added: "I would definitely be tempted to send Benie over fences again at some stage, but we will have to wait and see how she is next season. I don't like to look too far ahead with her."

Mullins took 11 runners over to France last weekend and has come back with more useful knowledge about plenty of his horses to take into next season.

"We learned an awful lot from our trip to France last weekend and I would hope I can put that information to good use for next year," Mullins said.

"A few of them didn't handle the track, others didn't handle the trip. There was a lot to take in and it was very much a learning experience in many respects."