Pedigree to die for: Mullins bumper ace steals show at Leopardstown | Horse Racing News - petsitterbank

Pedigree to die for: Mullins bumper ace steals show at Leopardstown | Horse Racing News

By Sam Hendry and Catherine Macrae

The Racing Post’s awards will honor the best (and sometimes worst) performances and raise talking points from the last seven days of racing. This week’s winners are . . .

Performance of the week

Easy Vega

As you would expect from such a monumental week in the jumps calendar, there are plenty of contenders, but arguably the one who turned most heads didn’t even jump an obstacle.

Despite – or perhaps, because of – his enormous collection of top prizes, Willie Mullins is not one to get carried away so his comments after Facile Vega’s Grade 2 Future Stars bumper win, when he said his charge “looks the real deal” and ” is even better than I thought”, appear even more significant.

The five-year-old has a pedigree to die for being by Walk In The Park out of six-time Mares’ Hurdle winner Quevega and looks a suitable name to add to the winners’ list of the Champion Bumper, which boasts Envoi Allen, Appreciate It and Kilcruit as its last three winners.

‘He looks the real deal’ – new Champion Bumper favorite dazzles Willie Mullins

ride of the week

Davy Russell we Conflated

When Conflated and Davy Russell loomed alongside Frodo to take the lead three out in the Irish Gold Cup, there still would have been few who believed the horse who was 50-1 on Friday night would be there for long.

Patrick McCann (

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Davy Russell was at his best on Conflated

Davy Russell was at his best on Conflated

Patrick McCann (

Even Russell admitted he was taking a bit of a risk making his move so early, but it proved to be a masterstroke from the jockey, who has clearly lost none of his tactical nous despite an extended time out of the saddle with a career-threatening neck injury. This ride and victory must rank as one of his finest.

‘I said he’d win or pull up’ – Elliott joy as Conflated shocks Gold Cup rivals

Feel-good story of the week

Fred Gingell

There were smiles and tears all round at Wincanton on Thursday when 16-year-old jockey Fred Gingell rode his first winner on veteran West Approach, just four years his junior.

Messages of congratulations flowed in for Colin Tizzard’s grandson, who lost his mother Kim to cancer two years ago.

‘She’s probably up there now, crying’ – emotional first win for Fred Gingell

Banker of the week


The absence of Appreciate It after Friday’s declarations removed any doubt about the outcome of the Irish Champion Hurdle and Honeysuckle duly obliged on Sunday to claim her third success in the Leopardstown showpiece.

Odds of 1-5 suggested Honeysuckle did not need to produce her best to continue her unbeaten run but she cruised to a six-and-a-half-length success under Rachael Blackmore, extending her winning streak to 14.

Patrick McCann

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Honeysuckle: extended her winning streak to 14

Honeysuckle: extended her winning streak to 14

Patrick McCann

That made it ten Grade 1s for Henry de Bromhead’s record-breaker and there seems little prospect of a serious challenge to her next month, when she will bid for back-to-back wins in the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.

‘I’ve never experienced that before’ – Blackmore and Honeysuckle send crowd wild

Jumping of the week

The busy man

Heading towards Sandown’s Railway fences for the second time in Saturday’s Grade 1 Scilly Isles, L’Homme Presse and Pic D’Orhy were neck and neck. Leaving the stretch of three obstacles, L’Homme Presse had established a clear lead over his main rival and all but ended the race as a contest thanks to an inch-perfect display of jumping.

The speed with which he exits his fences is striking and there may yet be a few nervous glances being cast L’Homme Presse’s way by the connections of Bob Olinger ahead of a probable Cheltenham showdown.

‘I gave it a Superman’ – Deutsch delight at first Grade 1 with L’Homme Presse

Redemption of the week

Lively Citizen

“You can only blame the trainer in those situations,” said David Jeffreys after Lively Citizen was pulled up due to a tack malfunction at Cheltenham last week.

The plucky hurdler was sent off joint favorite for a third course success but his saddle slipped after the first hurdle, which ended all hopes of victory early on. But Jeffreys and rider Archie Bellamy regrouped four days later and made amends when the seven-year-old battled to victory at Leicester on Wednesday.

John Grossick (

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Lively Citizen: loves it at Cheltenham

Lively Citizen: loves it at Cheltenham

John Grossick (

There is surely no more common equine forename in racing than Minella and this week there were no fewer than six horses bearing that moniker who claimed a top-three finish.

While Minella Times fails to make the list after being pulled up at Leopardstown on Sunday, beating out Minellas Hub, Buster, Indo, Destination and Crooner to the award is the Willie Mullins-trained Minella Cocooner, an impressive Grade 1 winner at Leopardstown on Saturday .

Catch our new in-depth review of the weekend’s racing every Monday in the Racing Post. With big-race analysis from Grand National-winning jockey Leighton Aspell, Chris Cook’s take on the weekend action, eyecatchers from the Raceform team, weekly awards and more, it is not to be missed.

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