Performances Of The Weekend - 08/02/21

Honeysuckle - Irish Champion Hurdle

Oh she's a very good mare. A lot has been made of just how exposed Honeysuckle is in the build up to Cheltenham this year and whether she will cope with the step up in class and the two mile distance of the Champion Hurdle, well, she answered all of those questions with an emphatic performance in the Irish Champion Hurdle on Saturday.

It was no surprise to see the bookies run scared after the performance with her odds slashing from as big as 6/1 for the race in to clear 9/4 favouritism. On paper, her biggest rival is fellow mare Epatante but she looked out of sorts last time out and with Honeysuckle's unbeaten record still in tact, she's the one to beat in the biggy.

Monkfish - Irish Arkle

111111, the form of Monkfish since his hurdling debut back in 2019. The Willie Mullins charge continued his incredible form in the Flogas Novices Chase never seeing another rival in the process.

He was already fairly well fancied for the RSA however that hasn't stopped punters making the most of the 2/1 odds prior to Sundays race and that support has seen him backed in to odds on now.

It's certainly going to take something special to beat him going off this performance.

Kilcruit - Goffs Future Stars Bumper

Easily the most eyeopening performance of the weekend, Kilcruit landed the Grade 2 Goffs Future Stars bumper in what can only be described as emphatic fashion for Willie Mullins.A four lengths second on bumper debut last year, he hosed up by nine lengths at Navan at the start of December and he then followed that up on Saturday with a simply remarkable performance.

Sent off at 11/8 and held up mid field, he literally cantered past the front runners when straightening up for home only to be pulled up on the line. What made the performance so spectacular was the fact that every rival in the race had already won a bumper. This wasn't a contest against 10 other donkeys, this was a contest against 10 decent horses with massive careers ahead of them.

The performance has seen him smashed in to 6/4 from 10/1 for the Champion Bumper next month and do not be surprised to see him go off around odds on in the race, he looked that good!

Native River - Cotswold Chase

Without doubt the most popular winner of the weekend, Native River rolled back the years with a typically hard performance to cause a relatively big shock in the Cotswold Chase.

Marred by inactivity in recent times which has seen him run just seven times in the past three years, the Colin Tizzard veteran took the race to the Cotswold Chase field and showed that trademark staying power to run away with the victory by nine lengths.

With no signs of the weather improving at the moment, it's likely the ground will be on the soft side of good for the big festival so it's no surprise to see him backed in to as short as 16/1 from 40/1 for the Gold Cup.

Al Boum Photo is still undoubtedly the horse to beat but at odds of 16/1, you'd be mad not to look into Native River repeating his 2018 success in the race from a place point of view.

Willie Mullins - Dublin Racing Festival

A special mention must go to Willie Mullins who had a simply incredible weekend at Leopardstown. A 13/1 four timer on Saturday and then a simply incredible 5,841/1 five timer on Sunday, Mullins trained nine winners in the 15 races at the festival over the weekend. Pretty remarkable. Hitting this sort of form now, he's undoubtedly going to have a big Cheltenham Festival next month.