Willie Mullins considering new target for impressive Ryanair winner Allaho
Willie Mullins hopes Allaho could be a contender for the Champion Chase after being stunned by his impressive Ryanair Chase win, which he described as the standout of his six festival winners.
Following Thursday's 12-length demolition, Mullins pointed to the King George VI Chase as a potential target and bookmakers make him a general 8-1 shot for the Boxing Day showpiece at Kempton.
However, having analysed the Ryanair, the trainer was impressed by Allaho's slick jumping and could drop him down to two miles, with the Punchestown Champion Chase on April 27 his likely next target.
Speaking after being named top trainer at the festival for the eighth time, Mullins said: "Allaho was our standout. I said he may look like a King George horse after the race but when I analysed it I thought we should be looking at a Champion Chase rather than Kempton.
"The way he jumps suggests he should drop back in trip. I haven't mentioned that to connections but his jumping is so slick and fast, I don't think it would be a big leap of faith to think he could be a Champion Chase horse.
"I think Punchestown could be a place to go and try [dropping back in trip]. When you race over three miles it's tough on them, I always think when you've got a champion hurdler or a champion chaser, it's easier to keep them sound and you can run them more often."
Allaho could clash with stablemate Chacun Pour Soi at Punchestown and, if he does line up in next season's Champion Chase, he could face Shishkin, a runaway winner of the Arkle for Nicky Henderson.
Mullins revealed Allaho clocked some impressive time figures when winning at Thurles, which filled the yard with plenty of confidence.
"I didn't watch it back – I don't do replays," added Mullins. "A man who does figures for my brother Tony said Allaho's run at Thurles before he came here had the best time figures he had seen in Ireland all year. He thought he was Grade 1 material. Sure enough, he reminded me of that when the horse won."
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