Chasing career on the line as Yorkhill faces speed test in high-quality field
Coral Dublin Chase | 2m1f | Grade 2 | 5yo+ | RTE2/ATR
Behave or bust. The chasing career of Yorkhill rests on what he does in this fascinating Champion Chase trial as Willie Mullins says he will send the sometimes errant eight-year-old back over hurdles if he puts another blot on his copybook here.
Which Yorkhill will show up is the poser facing punters. Will it be the one who brushed aside Top Notch, Disko and Politologue in last season's JLT Novices' Chase or will it be the one who ran with the choke out the whole way when trying three miles for the first time in the Christmas Chase at Leopardstown?
Yorkhill has not tried a trip this short since beating Burgas in a beginners' chase at Fairyhouse early last season, but Patrick Mullins, son of trainer Willie, believes the shorter trip could bring out the best in him.
Mullins said: "Yorkhill's pedigree suggested three miles. We tried it and it didn't work. What we took out of the race was how well he jumped. He was rapid. That will stand him in good stead over a shorter trip. With Special Tiara in the race, he should be easier to ride. He has a huge cruising speed and that should suit Leopardstown."
Can Min get revenge on Simply Ned?
Min did not reach his max over Christmas. That is the view of Patrick Mullins, who thinks he will need to settle better and jump more slickly in order to overhaul Yorkhill, the choice of Paul Townend.
David Mullins will be on board Min for the first time as he renews rivalry with Simply Ned, who could not get by him in the Paddy's Rewards Club Chase but was awarded the race in the stewards' room afterwards.
The betting suggests Min will win the rematch and his trainer's son says he is much fitter this time around.
"Min was disappointing at Christmas. Tell Us More lit him up early and they went too quick. He jumped too extravagantly down the back straight. He has improved fitness-wise since Christmas. It's very hard to call it between him and Special Tiara," said Patrick Mullins.
Simply a fluke?
Simply Ned had never won a Graded race of any sort prior to shocking everyone with his Grade 1 success in the Paddy's Rewards Club Chase and now we want to know whether it was a fluke or a performance to take at face value.
Mark Walsh was unable to get up Paul Townend's inside on Min at Christmas but most agreed that the right call was made in the stewards' room afterwards.
"This race looks a little tougher than the one at Christmas but he's in grand fettle. I hope he'll run another cracker, he doesn't let us down very often," said Simply Ned's trainer Nicky Richards.
Special Tiara loves holidaying more than being at home. His last seven starts have been in Britain, the best of which was holding off all rivals in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
"He's in great form and we're looking forward to a good run. We'll see what the ground is like when we get there – the better it is, the better he'll like it," said trainer Henry de Bromhead.
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