Bellshill the class act but ground is a worry for Mullins
Shannon Airport Novice Chase | Grade 2 | 2m3f | 4yo+ | ATR/RTE2
Past renewals suggest there will be a subsequent Grade 1-winning chaser on show here.
Sir Des Champs used this race as a successful stepping stone to winning the 2012 Jewson Novices’ Chase later that season. Gilgamboa was another high-class winner of the race in 2014, while recent John Durkan Chase runner-up Outlander scored for Gigginstown House Stud 12 months ago.
Bellshill is already a three-time Grade 1 winner – two over hurdles and a bumper – and made a successful chasing debut at Gowran Park last month.
There should be plenty to come from him over fences, and from what could be ascertained in the fog at Gowran he looked very good and quite conceivably bound for the top.
The Willie Mullins-trained big gun will be joined by stablemate Haymount, who accounted for subsequent Drinmore Novice Chase winner Coney Island on his chase debut at Punchestown in November.
Gigginstown's silks will be carried by Nambour and Attribution. Nambour could not build on a promising chase debut at Galway in October when finding A Toi Phil too hot at a foggy Punchestown last time and arrives with some questions to answer.
Attribution seems to have surpassed expectations over fences, but while he recorded a gritty success in a Grade 3 at Navan last time the likely heavy going may make things difficult for him.
Diamond King would need to improve on his tame display in the Drinmore to trouble the principals, while the Liam Cusack-trained Who's That completes the field.
Gigginstown's fine record
The powerful owners have won four of the past ten renewals – with Outlander in 2015, Sir Des Champs in 2011, Mr Cracker in 2010 and One Cool Cookie in 2006. Can either Nambour or Attribution add to their laurels?
The favourite has won the last two renewals at short odds and there has been only one double figure-priced winner in the past decade.
What they say
Eddie O’Leary, racing manager to Gigginstown House Stud, owners of Attribution and Nambour
Attribution has done very well for himself but he won’t like the ground. We didn’t see enough of Nambour last time to draw too many conclusions from the race. He should go through the ground and if the Nambour who won his beginners’ chase at Galway turns up he could run a big race.
Patrick Mullins, assistant trainer to Willie Mullins, trainer of Bellshill and Haymount
Bellshill seems better when the ground is better, so there would be concerns on that score. He did look good – from what we saw – in the fog at Gowran Park and has always looked like he would do well over fences. Haymount has always looked like he'd make a better chaser as he has the physique to excel over fences. His beginners’ chase form got a great boost when the runner-up that day, Coney Island, went on to win the Drinmore. Again, the only question mark about him would be heavy ground.
Gordon Elliott, trainer of Diamond King
He's been in good form since the Drinmore and goes there with every chance. My only worry is if it comes up very soft.