WILLIE Mullins has completely changed the face of National Hunt racing.
After last year’s record-breaking haul of 10 winners at the Festival, the Master of Closutton sits atop the all-time list on 88 winners with 16 back to his nearest rival Nicky Henderson.
He is only 7/2 with William Hill to bring up the century by having 12 or more winners and as short as 1/8 to be crowned leading trainer for a fifth straight year and a 10th time overall.
The ammunition he has at his disposal is truly frightening, but that does make life tough for stable jockey Paul Townend, who has the difficult choice of which star horse to choose in most of the Graded races.
He will undoubtedly get a few wrong and although some might see William Hill’s 4/7 about him winning his third top jockey prize as a more than fair price, I’m happy to take him on. After all, he only rode five of Mullins’ 10 winners last year.
William Hill have cut NICO DE BOINVILLE to 4/1 in the market, but he’s still available at 7/1 with BetUK and I think that is really decent value.
If any punter was to name a certainty this week, it would be Constitution Hill in the Champion Hurdle, who is generally available at 1/3.
Shishkin is the second shortest-priced favourite of the week in the Ryanair Chase and you can then throw in Luccia and Marie’s Rock, as well as lots of other chances during the week in the other Graded races and handicaps.
De Boinville won the prize back in 2019 with just three winners and he looks over-priced against Townend.
You then have the likes of Davy Russell, Rachael Blackmore and Danny Mullins, who all have some good chances over the four days, but I can’t resist throwing a few quid at Willie’s son PATRICK MULLINS at a massive 40/1 with Betfair.
Despite being an amateur jockey, he still managed three winners 12 months ago and he will be looking to land a fourth National Hunt Chase tomorrow on even-money favourite Gaillard Du Mesnil.
He has the pick of his dad’s horses in the Champion Bumper, will be riding many of the yard’s second and third strings in the big Graded contests and will have chances in both the Kim Muir and Foxhunters, which are both restricted to amateur riders.
The leading jockey has ended up with three or four winners in six of the last 10 years, so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Mullins Jnr could claim the prize with the same haul as last year.
As in the past few years, the Prestbury Cup is a non-event with the Irish priced as short as 1/25, but I am happy to have a go at the biggest winning SP market.
There are always turn ups at the Festival and the last four years have produced a winner at 50/1 or bigger.
William Hill are offering 15/8 for the biggest-priced winner to be between 50/1 and 66/1, which has copped in three of the last four years.
Jeff Kidder won the Boodles two years ago at 80/1, but generally the biggest winning SP has been 50/1 or 66/1, so 15/8 for a repeat looks a fair price.
Nico de Boinville Top Jockey (7/1)
Patrick Mullins Top Jockey (40/1)
Biggest Winning SP 50/1 to 66/1 (15/8)