Willie Mullins banking on Buildmeupbuttercup as he targets fifth Ascot Stakes
Ascot Stakes(handicap) |2m4f |4yo+ | ITV/SKY
Willie Mullins has been the man to followwhen it comes to the Ascot Stakes and hisBuildmeupbuttercup will be on a mission to break bookmakers' heartsunder Ryan Moore.
Successful withSimenon, Clondaw Warrior, Thomas Hobson and Lagostovegas since 2012, the Closutton maestrorelies solely on his Sixties Icon mare this year, having saddled the first, third, fourth and fifth 12 months ago.
A 128-rated hurdler whose Flat mark of 91 has come from three efforts in Listed/Group 3 company for Mick Channon, Buildmeupbuttercup was below her best when last seen in a Punchestown handicap hurdlebut showed ability when winning at Navan earlier in the season.
Patrick Mullins said of his father's representative: "She has some very good Flat form to her name and we've been happy with her lately. It's brilliant to get Ryan Moore and the race has been very lucky for us, so we're hoping for a big run."
Mengli leads two-pronged Elliott attack
Gordon Elliott is used to battling with Mullins on home soiland is doubly represented in his bid to see offhis great rival at the Berkshire track.
Mengli Khan danced every dance in the novicechase division this year but this contest represents a very different challenge for the 154-rated chaser, whocompeteshere off a mark of 96underRory Cleary.
Frankie Dettori can't have ridden too many Royal Ascot runners whose prep run came in a Downpatrick maiden hurdle, but he is tasked with getting the best out of Elliott's Batts Rock, rated 91 on the level.
The winner of this race has hailed from Ireland for the past five seasons but in the shape of Alan King's Coeur De Lion, sixth in this contest 12 months ago, and Hughie Morrison's 2015 runner-up Fun Mac, the British squad have some lively bullets to fire.
What they say
Archie Watson, trainer of Ulster and Yabass
Ulster has done nothing wrong and is probably the least exposed horse in the race. The form of his Musselburgh race has worked out very well, and if he stays the trip he could run very well. Yabass needs this sort of trip as he's been outpaced late over shorter trips. If the extra distance unlocks some improvement he can run well.
Denis Hogan, trainer of Kerosin
He's been a revelation since we stepped him up to two miles and having been unlucky at the Curragh, we were delighted to make amends at Navan. With that in mind we're hopeful he'll stay and run well. He's versatile and handles all sorts of ground.
Noel Meade, trainer of Snow Falcon
He's in good form and he'll appreciate the ease in the ground, if it stays that way. It's the race we wanted to run him in last year but it didn't work out for us. Hopefully his stamina is fairly assured.
Denis Cullen, trainer of Arctic Fire
We were delighted with him at Killarney and that just nudged us towards running here. He won over three miles for me over hurdles so you'd be hopeful he'll stay the trip, although you never quite know on the Flat. He's fit and well and is still showing us loads of enthusiasm.
Jumps horses have been dominating the roll of honour in this race and it's been Irish jumps horses in recent years, with Willie Mullins training four of the last seven winners and three of the last four. The only Mullins challenger this time round is Buildmeupbuttercup, whose claims on paper seem less substantial than his previous winners but who has nevertheless been heading the Ascot Stakes betting. Better options from Ireland may be Mengli Khan and Snow Falcon, who have nothing to prove in terms of their class over jumps, with Mengli Khan perhaps holding the edge today if the ground is good or good to soft rather than soft.
Paddy Power are paying a huge 6 places instead of 4 on this race. Bet on the Racing Posthere