Galopin Des Champs© Photo Healy Racing
Galopin Des Champs is the star attraction among the seven confirmations for the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown on Saturday.
The three-mile contest is the feature on day one of the Dublin Racing Festival and Willie Mullins’ seven-year-old will look to cement his place at the top of the ante-post lists for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March following a winning comeback in the John Durkan at Punchestown in December.
The master of Closutton, who recently passed 4,000 career winners, is also represented by last year’s National Hunt Chase scorer and recent Tramore runner-up Stattler, 2021 Irish Gold Cup winner Kemboy and Franco De Port.
Gordon Elliott has won the race twice in the last three years and relies on track-and-trip winner Fury Road, while Grand National hopes The Big Dog (Peter Fahy) and Any Second Now (Ted Walsh) complete the list of potential runners.
Mullins is responsible for five of the eight possibles in the Goffs Irish Arkle Novice Chase, where Dysart Dynamo could be given the opportunity to build on his breathtaking course-and-distance success over the Christmas period.
Other Closutton inmates in the mix include former Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Appreciate It, El Fabiolo, Flame Bearer and Saint Roi — who was the best part of 10 lengths clear of the reopposing Fil Dor when scooping Grade One honours over track and trip in December.
Visionarian was second on that occasion and is another possible, along with Joseph O’Brien’s Banbridge.
Vauban won the Donohue Marquees Spring Juvenile Hurdle in 2021 before going on to Triumph Hurdle success and Lossiemouth will be looking to repeat the dose for the same connections as she heads the 15 confirmations for this years running.
Rich Ricci’s filly is one of eight possible runners for Mullins in the Grade One event, with Blood Destiny, Gala Marceau and Gust Of Wind other notable names from Closutton that could line up.
The action kicks off with the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors “50,000 Cheltenham Bonus For Stable Staff” Nov Hurdle where a maximum of nine go to post and Good Lord heads the ante-post market for Barry Connell following his eight-length win here over Christmas.
Paul Nolan will be hoping Sandor Clegane can follow in the footsteps of Latest Exhibition and throw his hat in the ring for the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival, while Weveallbeencaught is a rare UK raider representing Nigel Twiston-Davies.
Tom Mullins’ Facile Mode created a deep impression when winning over track and trip on debut and tops the 12 engaged in the Future Stars (C & G) I.N.H. Flat Race.
The last four winners of this have all subsequently gone off favourite for the Champion Bumper. Willie Mullins has won four of the five runnings and can select from Chosen Witness, Special Cadeau, Fact To File and Largy Hill this time.
Elliott’s eye-catching Fairyhouse winner Better Days Ahead is another name to note in the dozen that could go to post.