Willie Mullins Stable Tour: 2021/22 Season

Willie Mullins

Willie Mullins

Willie Mullins and winners go hand in hand. Whether you’re in England or Ireland, you’ll usually find the name WP Mullins next to the number one position in the racing results.

The man is a master at getting racehorses to win races and is blessed with an outstanding stable full of top class talent. This season will be no different and after helping the Irish to dominate at Cheltenham last March, he’ll be a formidable force again across the 2021/22 campaign.

Al Boum Photo

9yo, bay geldingForm: 13-2

Verdict: A two-time Gold Cup winner, Al Boum Photo is worthy of his place in racing history and ran with great credit to finish third on his Gold Cup hat-trick bid last March. He was lightly raced as usual last season and is likely to follow a similar route again, starting with the Savills Chase at Tramore in January.

Allaho

7yo, bay gelding

Form: 6411-2

Verdict: Without doubt the most impressive winner at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, winning the Ryanair Chase from pillar to post, scoring by 12 lengths in a field that saw Festival winners like Min, Samcro and Imperial Aura all pulled up. Allaho followed up that fantastic performance with a runner-up effort in the Champion Chase over two miles at Punchestown, but that was likely too short for him and the two-and-a-half mile division is definitely his to dominate.

Appreciate It

7yo, bay gelding

Form: /1111-
Verdict: Remains unbeaten over hurdles in four starts last season, winning the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in emphatic fashion at the Festival, despite question marks hanging over him as to whether or not two miles was his distance. He certainly put that to bed at Cheltenham and could be anything this season. Chasing looks like the most natural option for him, but with that Festival performance, it would be no surprise to see the Champion Hurdle come into the reckoning, rather than the Arkle.

Asterion Forlonge

7yo, grey gelding

Form: 1FF433-1

Verdict: Took a while to get his act together in Graded company over fences last season, falling at Limerick and Punchestown. He did however, seem to improve for the spring ground, finishing third in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham and the Novice Gold Cup at Fairyhouse, before winning a valuable handicap at Punchestown. You’d expect him to be slightly better than that, so connections will be hopeful that he can improve this season.

Bacardys

10yo, bay gelding

Form: 4P57-9

Verdict: Is now without a win since taking the Lismullen Hurdle in November 2019, and failed to come close last season, with his best effort being at too short a trip when a close enough 4th to Honeysuckle in the Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse. There’s still some class in him, but it's proving hard to get it out of him at the top level.

Burrows Saint

8yo, bay gelding

Form: /2624-

Verdict: A big staying chaser, he hasn’t got his head in front since winning at Punchestown in December 2019, but he is certainly banging on the door with some decent efforts last season. A runner-up effort in the Bobbyjo Chase was followed up with a very good run in the Aintree Grand National to finish fourth. It would be no surprise to see him sticking to marathon trips this term.

Carefully Selected

9yo, bay gelding

Form: 3111U/

Verdict: Improved for going over fences last season, winning his first three starts over the bigger obstacles, including Grade 3’s at Punchestown and Naas. That was enough to send him off as the 10/11 favourite for the National Hunt Chase at the Festival but unseated at the last when comfortably beaten. He’ll be thereabouts again this season, where three miles might be more his distance.

Chacun Pour Soi

9yo, bay gelding

Form: 1113-1

Verdict: A hugely talented chaser, he landed back-to-back Grade One’s at Leopardstown last season which sent him off as the 8/13 favourite for the Champion Chase. He didn’t quite get up the hill at Cheltenham to finish third, but soon got back to winning ways on home soil when winning the Champion Chase at Punchestown. He’s top class, and will be aiming to go a few places better if he makes the trip to Cheltenham this season.

Cilaos Emery

9yo, bay gelding

Form: 218-42

Verdict: Won a small field Grade 3 at Naas in February, but dissapointed in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham and Punchestown, finishing closer to the back than the front on both occasions. However, he did improve for being moved up to 2m4f on his final start of the season, when beaten only a neck by Samcro. At his age, it would be no surprise to see him go up and distance and stick to 2m4f.

Colreevy

8yo, bay mare

Form: /1111-1

Verdict: Won all five of her starts last season after stepping up from hurdles to fences, including when she came out on top in a ding-dong battle with stablemate Elimay in the first ever running of the Mares’ Chase at the Festival. That was followed up with another Grade One victory in the Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown, where she went up in distance to beat Monkish back in second. That is a solid book of form over fences, and it would be no surprise to see her tackling the opposite sex more often this season.

Concertista

7yo, chestnut mare

Form: 112-3

Verdict: Took the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival in 2020, and did nothing wrong last season without being brilliant. A Grade 2 and Grade 3 victory were good prep for heading to Cheltenham, where she looked to be winning the Mares’ Hurdle before being caught on the line by a running-on Black Tears. She was later third in the Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown. That was likely a race too far after a tough one at Cheltenham, so she’ll still be a big player amongst the Mares this season.

Energumene

7yo, brown gelding

Form: 11/111-1

Verdict: Remains unbeaten over obstacles and looked to be a class above the rest when winning the Irish Arkle at Leopardstown in February. That put him in pole position to lead the Irish challenge in the Arkle at Cheltenham but lameness sadly ruled him out of a clash with Shishkin at Prestbury Park. He soon made up for that missed opportunity by picking up another Grade 1 at Punchestown, and he’ll be a huge player if he makes the Champion Chase this March.

Elixir D’Ainay

7yo, chestnut gelding

Form: /125F/

Verdict: Highly regarded by both Willie Mullins and owner JP McManus, but is yet to really live up to that hype on the racecourse. He’s won just one of his five starts for Mullins, despite being a close second to Envoi Allen at Naas in January 2020. He missed the entirety of last season, but you’d be a brave punter to bet against Mullins securing some kind of revival, maybe over fences.

Ferny Hollow

6yo, bay gelding

Form: 1/2211/1-

Verdict: Another who was on the injury list last season is Ferny Hollow, although his time on the sidelines has actually proven to make him a better racehorse, at least in the form book. Time has told that he has now beaten both the Supreme winner in Appreciate It and the Ballymore winner in Bob Olinger, so the question this season will be, how good really is Ferny Hollow? At his best, you’d have to think he’d be a serious contender for the Champion Hurdle.

French Aseel

4yo, chestnut gelding

Form: /1245-

Verdict: His owner, Mrs J Donnelly has a seriously impressive record with 73 of her 120 runners in the UK and Ireland at least running into a place. That would suggest that she knows a good horse when she sees one and given she bought French Aseel out of a race she had a runner in, it might be worth being patient with this 4yo. He is yet to run for Mullins, but was seriously impressive when winning on his last start for Ellmarie Holden and there should be plenty more to come.

Gaillard Du Mesnil

5yo, grey gelding

Form: /2112-1

Verdict: A three-time winner last season, including Grade One’s at Leopardstown and Punchestown, along with a runner-up effort in the Ballymore, Gaillard Du Mesnil is a horse to keep on your side. He’d be very exciting over fences this season, and looks well suited to staying chases where he might be a contender for the RSA Chase come the Festival.

Galopin Des Champs

5yo, black gelding

Form: 12P61-1

Verdict: Didn’t really get his act together until the spring last season, but quickly made up for lost time by winning the Martin Pipe at the Festival and the Grade One Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle at Punchestown. The step up to three miles on his final start really seemed to suit and he could be one for the Stayers’ Hurdle this time

Kemboy

9yo, bay gelding

Form 22194

Verdict: Will probably be forever remembered as Ruby Walsh’s last winner in the saddle, and has actually only won once since that day. That came in the middle of last season in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown, where he got the better of eventual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Minella Indo. He can certainly mix it at the top level, but his form would tell you that his winning is more likely to happen on home soil than at the big Festivals in the UK.

Kilcruit

6yo, bay gelding

Form: 2/112-1

Verdict: Looked to be an absolute machine when winning at Leopardstown in February, but was quickly brought back to reality when beaten by stablemate Sir Gerhard in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham. However, he quickly got revenge at Punchestown to leave Sir Gerhard back in third, and he’ll be a very interesting runner if he can continue his development over hurdles this season.

Klassical Dream

7yo, bay gelding

Form: /135/1

Verdict: Memorably won the Supreme in 2019, but was poor in two runs over hurdles after that and went on to miss the whole of 2020. That didn’t put a stop to his talents though, because after over 400 days off the track, he returned in fine style to win the Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown in April. That would suggest that three miles could be the plan this season, and if he goes chasing, he’ll be one to follow.

Melon

9yo, chestnut gelding

Form: /335P-P

Verdict: Has always been well thought of by the team at Closutton, but he’ll have a point to prove this season after struggling for the majority of the last campaign. Placed efforts at Punchestown and Leopardstown got him off to a good start, but then the less said about his next three starts the better. Last in the Irish Gold Cup was followed by him being pulled up in the Ryanair at Cheltenham and the Punchestown Gold Cup. Must do better.

Sharjah

8yo, bay gelding

Form: /132-2

Verdict: Seems to save his very best for the Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown, but was consistent throughout last season, finishing second in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and Punchestown. He’s running out of chances to win the big one at Prestbury Park, but he’s always a good form guide and one that always has a good day in him.

Saint Roi

6yo, brown gelding

Form: /1244-

Verdict: Missed out on Cheltenham last season when he was considered a strong candidate for the Champion Hurdle after winning the County Hurdle in 2020. He only won once last season, in a Grade Three at Tipperary, but he might well get his chance in the Champion Hurdle this year if he stays sound and fully fit.

Saldier

7yo, bay gelding

Form: /1/667-81

Verdict: Heavily raced last season, he quickly proved that Graded company was a bit too hot for him, instead winning on the Flat at Listowel in June, before following up two starts later by winning the Galway Hurdle. That may represent a change in his preferred going, which might mean we see him as more of a spring and summer horse, than one that plods on through the winter.

Sir Gerhard

6yo, bay gelding

Form: 1/111-3

Verdict: One of the big names to make the switch to Mullins from Gordon Elliott prior to the Festival, but showed no ill effects off the move when winning the Champion Bumper in the hands of Rachel Blackmore. He has suffered defeat since then in the Grade One Bumper at Punchestown, but he could be very classy over hurdles and might be more suited to the Ballymore than the Supreme.

The Big Getaway

7yo, bay gelding

Form: /21413/31-

Verdict: Quickly progressed as a hurdler to pick up a rating of 146, and was third in the Ballymore at Cheltenham back in 2020. As a chaser, he was beaten first time out in a Beginners Chase at Navan, but got off the mark in fine style at Leopardstown in December. He hasn’t been seen since then, but he’d be one to keep an eye on again this term.

Tornado Flyer

8yo, bay gelding

Form: /22543-

Verdict: Hasn’t won since December 2019, but has been far disgraced since then, including when stepping into open company as a chaser. He was second in the John Durkan at Punchestown last year, beaten only a length by Min, and ended his campaign when third in the Ryanair at Cheltenham. He was admittedly well beaten by Allaho at the Festival, but his Irish form looks fairly solid, and he should be able to continue mixing it with the big boys this term.

Monkfish

7yo, chestnut gelding

Form: /1111-2

Verdict: Out for the season with injury.

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