July 19, 2024

Guinness Faugheen Novice Chase: Gaelic Warrior shows star quality for Willie Mullins in Limerick romp | Racing News


Gaelic Warrior ran out a tremendous winner of the Guinness Faugheen Novice Chase at Limerick for Patrick and Willie Mullins.

Racing in the famous pink and green Susannah and Rich Ricci colours that Faugheen sported throughout his illustrious career, he looks booked for the very top.

While in the past connections have hinted at a preference for going right-handed, the 4-7 favourite jumped as straight as an arrow on this occasion in the hands of Patrick Mullins.

The leading amateur also rode Faugheen to glory in the corresponding race in 2019, a highlight he still refers to as one of the best days of his career.

He will surely have never ridden an easier Grade One winner as, despite coming up against the smart American Mike, who had lowered the colours of subsequent impressive winner Fact To File last time out, and stablemate Il Etait Temps, a Grade One winner over hurdles, the five-year-old proved in a different league.

Gaelic Warrior and Patrick Mullins win the Grade 1 Faugheen Novice Steeplechase
Gaelic Warrior and Patrick Mullins win the Grade 1 Faugheen Novice Steeplechase

Gaelic Warrior’s only worry was when Danny Mullins attempted to sneak up the inner of his stablemate and cousin on the run to the second-last, but once he came out on top in the brief skirmish, the race was over.

He crossed the line five and a half lengths clear without coming off the bridle and Willie Mullins will now have to decide which race he runs in at Cheltenham in March, with all options seemingly open trip-wise.

“I told Danny ‘do not come for it’ but he hasn’t listened”

Patrick Mullins said: “That was super and he settled away going his own gallop. I was trying to get him to pop early on, but he wasn’t too sure of that so I let him jump. He loves the ground, won as he liked and jumped well once he got into a rhythm.

“He has been beaten twice at Cheltenham and it doesn’t really suit him as he jumps good and right. That said the Turners Chase is on the New course (at Cheltenham) which is slightly less tight than the Old course.

“He is most definitely a different horse going right-handed, but Cheltenham is Cheltenham. I’m not sure what Willie has in mind for him and I think the way he jumps, maybe two and a half miles on soft ground is his best trip.”

Regarding the incident approaching the second-last fence, he added: “I told Danny going out that, ‘there will be a gap on my inside going down to the second-last and do not come for it’ but he hasn’t listened to me. Luckily it didn’t get the two of us beaten.”

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