Willie Mullins column: Weekend preview

Our star columnist has three runners in the Unibet Morgiana Hurdle on Sunday. Check out his guide to the Punchestown and Cork team.

Sunday runners

Cork

12:30 Embassy Gardens

He goes and jumps well at home. It will be a testing two miles on the ground down there and I’m hoping he’ll give Sean O’Keeffe a good ride and expect him to be involved in the business end of this race.

14:50 Dinoblue

This is a very good mares’ beginners chase with a Cheltenham winner in Telmesomethinggirl and the promising Roseys Hollow in there. Our mare looked good when winning her maiden hurdle last year and probably disappointed a little after that, but I think she’ll be better over fences. It’s a good starting point for her.

Punchestown

11:45 Brahma Bull

Brian Hayes rides him. He was going well at Cheltenham when he unseated Brian and the ground on the inside will be good which will suit this horse. I’d rather keep a watching brief on him on Sunday, it’s a learning curve with cross-country races with him. I’d like to see him get a clear round and we’ll see what happens with the possibility of being able to compete in some of the bigger races in this sphere.

14:05 Saldier

His form over hurdles hasn’t been good lately and we’ve gone back on the Flat with him. He might need a longer trip this winter, but we’ve put blinkers on him and he does like the track here.

14:05 Sharjah

He’s won the race before and Patrick knows him well. He seems good and well at home, and he’ll give a good account of himself.

14:05 State Man

Paul rides him and he’s the one runner of ours who could improve hugely given his age. He’s rated the lowest of my trio but has age on his side and it will be interesting to see how he runs.

2.40pm Seabank Bistro

A lovely, big, chasing type who jumps well at home and I’m very, very happy with him. I’m expecting a really good run out of this fellow over this extended trip. It should really suit him.

15:15 Shewearsitwell

She was badly hampered in the Galway Hurdle where she was running well and went back to that track last time. We’re trying a new trip with her here and hopefully getting her qualified for the final at Cheltenham in March. The handicapper has given her a bit of a chance and we’re hoping going out in trip might bring her back to form.

15:50 Lecky Watson

Patrick found a lot of trouble coming up the straight at Fairyhouse on debut and I’d imagine he felt he was unlucky not to win there. That run gives him an excellent chance of going one better on Sunday.

I’m delighted to see our winter horses coming back on the scene with good runs.

Recent runners

I thought Paul Townend was excellent on both Dolcita and Blue Lord at Clonmel on Thursday. The former looks a really good jumper and has obviously improved for a fence. She could improve over the winter.

Elimay needed her run but I’m sure she’ll come forward for it. She looked big enough in the paddock beforehand.

Danny gave Tornado Flyer a great front-running ride in the Clonmel Oil Chase and nearly stole it but for ballooning the second last which cost him a length or two. Paul gained ground with a slick jump from Blue Lord and looked to have the race put to bed only for the other horse to rally and come back at him at the end.

It was a great comeback run from Tornado and whether we take in the John Durkan en route to the King George we’ll see. Kempton is his main target.

I was keen to try Blue Lord over two-and-a-half miles, we were just thinking maybe he isn’t a championship two-miler although he could win plenty of races on the trip. Now that he’s settled well in a slowly-run race on Thursday it gives us plenty of options.

Hercule Du Seuil gave Mark Walsh a great ride to win the Gibney’s For Auction Novice Hurdle at Navan last weekend. He’s a strong, front-running type and jumps immaculately although he did fiddle the last which I thought might cost him the race. I was very impressed once Mark pulled him together and drove him on how he found enough in reserve to hold off Imagine, which is the sign of a good horse.

The ground is starting to come right for us now and hopefully it can stay like that as we’ll get plenty more horses out over the coming weeks.

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