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Hurricane ready to lead the big names into action.

RESULTS over the past few days have given a clear signal that Willie Mullins, Ireland's champion trainer, is up and running for the season as many of his better horses begin to appear.

At home and at Cheltenham the signals over the weekend were clear and, having admitted only a week ago that his team was "only warming up" for the serious business ahead, Mullins has started to unleash some of the firepower stabled in his Closutton, County Carlow yard and is heading the prize-money list.

He is chasing a fifth consecutive title and again his strength in depth is awesome, led by Champion Hurdle hero Hurricane Fly, who is due to start his campaign in Sunday's Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown.

"We're getting busy and the big names will be appearing in coming weeks," Mullins says. "It's all beginning to come on stream and I'd expect things to pick up significantly between now and Christmas.

"Hurricane Fly, who went through last season unbeaten, and Thousand Stars, whose consistency was rewarded when he won the French Champion Hurdle, will be in action soon. Quevega is back looking better than ever. Limiting her to two races - the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle and the 3m Grade 1 at Punchestown - has worked well in the past and it will probably be the same story.

"Mourad will be aimed at top staying hurdles and we've decided on hurdling for Mikael D'Haguenet, who lost his confidence over fences.

"We're also hoping Zaidpour, who started last season so well before going off the boil, will show what he's capable of and be competitive at a high level.

"We have a nice team of novices and lots of promising young horses who will be starting off in bumpers."

Sir Des Champs, one of three Cheltenham Festival winners for the stable, taking the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle, is going novice chasing.

The novice hurdlers include Lovethehigherlaw, winner of the Grade 1 bumper at the Punchestown festival, and unbeaten three-time bumper winner Samain. Tony O'Hehir A Fine Young Man Pedigree: six-year-old gelding Snurge (sire) - Miss Platinum (dam) Owner: TJ Doran Form: 1/ Racing Post Rating: 117b (c=chase, h=hurdle, b=bumper) Won a bumper at Naas on his debut in 2009-10 but met with a setback and had to miss last term. He's in pre-training and will be going novice hurdling. Staying will be his game.

Alfred James 5g Old Vic - Jupiter's Message Mrs Rose Boyd 52-RPR 118b Learned a lot from his first run in finishing second in a 25-runner bumper at the Punchestown festival. We hope to win a bumper with him and then send him hurdling.

Allez Garde 6g Kagarde - Allee Du Port Doran Bros (London) Ltd 231914-RPR 133h Official rating: 139h Placed on all but one of his four starts in bumpers before wining a couple over hurdles including a three-miler at Gowran Park last season. His form has been boosted since and he is a nice prospect for staying novice chases. He should be ready to start soon.

Allure Of Illusion 5g Captain Rio - Sixhills Mrs S Ricci 13-RPR 120b We were hoping to run him in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham but he failed to make the cut. He went to Aintree and ran well in third but knocked a joint. The plan is to send him novice hurdling and see how things go. He mightn't reappear until the new year as he's a spring horse who prefers nice ground.

Apt Approach 8g Bob Back - Imminent Approach Greenstar Syndicate 12/52F-U RPR 149c OR 140c Hard to place off his rating. He's won only once over fences and ran second in a Grade 2. While he might win a Grade 3 he is more a handicapper. 2m4f-plus suits and he'll mix chasing and hurdling.

Are Ya Right Chief 6g Flemensfirth - River Clyde MrsMMcMahon 56-RPR 107b He's a brother to Skorcher and, like him, he'll appreciate plenty of distance. We'll try to win a bumper but staying novice hurdles will be the main mission this season.

Arvika Ligeonniere 6g Arviko - Daraka Mrs S Ricci 2/41241/ RPR 146h OR 144h We were looking forward to novice chasing with him last season but a setback meant he missed the campaign. He's back in pre-training and it will probably be well into the new year before he's ready. He's a big horse who needs a good cut in the ground and we'll be taking a long-term view and won't be rushing him. If it looks that his season is going to be short then we might be satisfied in giving him a few runs over hurdles and wait until the following season before sending him fencing.

Aupcharlie 5g Daliapour - Lirfa Alan Potts 232137-RPR 126b A useful recent addition to the team, he did well in bumpers last season when he fared best of the Irish-trained horses when third in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, finishing third. He will be novice hurdling and jumps well. He'll be out soon.

Avoca King 9g Luso - A Queen By Phar T Merrigan 1/2/P-0 RPR 128h He disappointed at Wexford last month on his first start of the season, but a lot of ours have needed a run and we're hoping he'll get his act together and win a maiden hurdle. He's had his problems but he did win a bumper and is a big, strong individual who is built like a chaser.

Back In Focus 6g Bob Back - Dun Belle Andrea & Graham Wylie F/2118-RPR 142h A fine big horse who won a point-to-point and Grade 2 novice hurdle over 3m on heavy at Newcastle last season. The plan is for novice chasing but it maybe the new year before he's ready to start for us. A good distance and testing ground seem his requirements.

Bagber 5g Diktat - Torcross Allan McLuckie 13-RPR 137h He won three on the Flat and although bred for that game he has the size to go chasing. We're hoping he takes to it and he'll start off around 2m. He won over hurdles last season.

Ballyhaunis 6g Daylami - Ballet Mrs S Ricci 7/1120-RPR 141h OR 134h We'll probably miss the worst of the winter ground and wait until the spring before starting his season. He won a couple of hurdles last season and, while we might give him a spin or two over fences, we're looking more at running over hurdles.

Bishopsfurze 6g Broadway Flyer - Supreme Dipper Mrs C M Hurley 151147-RPR 143h OR 138h He won three of his six hurdles last season when his jumping was far from fluent. The good news is he's been schooling well over fences and the indications are he should make a better fist of chasing. We're hoping he'll do well.

Blackstairmountain 6g Imperial Ballet - Sixhills Mrs S Ricci 1/52726-RPR 159h OR 151h A Grade 1-winning hurdler as a novice two seasons back, he found it hard last season and failed to win, although he was placed in a Grade 2. He has schooled over fences and is taking to them well. He should be in action before Christmas and we're looking at races around 2m. The option will be there to revert to hurdles, if that's what we want to do.

Blazing Tempo 7m Accordion - Leading Duke Mrs S Ricci 52-1431 RPR 160c OR 152c By winning the Galway Plate she's already paid her way this season. She ran well under a big weight when we stepped up to 3m in the Kerry National but disappointed in the 2m4f Grade 2 chase at Down Royal. We took a chance running her again so soon in a mares' race at Clonmel on Thursday. It worked out well as she won a dramatic contest. She was almost brought down at the second-last and then the two in front of her came down at the last. We'll see how she is and decide whether to look for another opportunity soon or give her a break. She would need to improve about 14lb to be a realistic Ryanair Chase contender.

Bold Banks 8g Taipan - A Woman's Heart Mrs J M Mullins 2/ RPR 111b He ran second in a bumper on his only start and, while he has been off a long time, he is almost ready to rock and roll. He wouldn't want the ground very testing and we'll be trying to win a hurdle race with him.

Boston Bob 6g Bob Back - Bavaway Andrea & Graham Wylie 1/31-1 RPR 112b He won a point-to-point and a bumper on his second start in England. He's a big chasing type who won his maiden hurdle [yesterday] at Navan. He looks a very nice recruit. The way he jumped he'll make a nice chaser, but I think he'll have a good novice hurdling career and I won't be afraid to go anywhere with him.

Boxer Georg 9g Taipan - Country Course William Murray 324726-RPR 140c OR 106c He ran a blinder and gave Patrick a memorable spin when second in the Fox Hunters' at Aintree and will again be going the hunter chase route. Everything will be geared towards trying to go one better at Aintree.

Bowfinger 8g Anshan - Galley Flash Mrs J M Mullins 1/3dPRPR 95c Another who'll be competing in hunter chases. He finished third in one at Clonmel last season but was disqualified as it turned out he wasn't qualified. We're hoping he'll have better luck this season.

Bundle Of Fun 8g Topanoora - Leaden Sky Shanakiel Racing Syndicate 5P-3113 RPR 107c 132h OR 95c 119h He's on a nice mark over fences compared with his hurdles rating, so we're hoping he can make use of that and win a handicap or two. Staying is his game and he seems to have a good jumping method.

Cadspeed 8g Vertical Speed - Cadmina Carra Ethos Syndicate 2211/23-RPR 138c 138h Showed promise when placed on both starts over fences last season and we're hoping he'll build on that bit of experience. He was quite sharp over hurdles so you'd think he'll be very effective at around 2m.

Call The Police 8g Accordion - Evangelica E Duignan 14/2100-RPR 147h OR 139h His form tapered off towards the end of last season, which wasn't that surprising as he appreciates winter ground. He's a fine, big rangy sort and is going novice chasing. He should stay well although he was sharp enough to finish second in the MCR Hurdle over 2m last season before winning over 2m4f.

Celtic Folklore 6g Luso - Lady Orla Tiger Tail Syndicate P/112-RPR 132h He was a bit of a surprise package last season when he won a bumper and a maiden hurdle. He matured nicely over the summer and goes novice chasing. He ran in a point-topoint before we got him and should jump fences well.

Ceol Rua 6m Bob Back - Glens Music Fiona McStay 2120-03 RPR 119h She showed good form in bumpers but on the evidence of her two runs over hurdles she'll need to polish up her jumping if she is to fulfil her potential. If it all comes together for her she should certainly pay her way.

C'est Ca 7g Groom Dancer - Known Class George Creighton 5/4521PRPR 139h OR 128h He's mixed it between hurdles and fences but the likelihood is we'll concentrate on hurdling this season. He appreciates testing ground and will be running in staying handicaps.

Champagne Agent 5g Smadoun - Madame Jean John J Fallon 254-RPR 121b He disappointed us in bumpers last season but was a bit weak and still growing. He's done well and came in almost two inches taller. We might give him a crack at another bumper before sending him over hurdles. He'll be one for the staying novice division.

Champagne Fever 4g Stowaway - Forever Bubbles Mrs S Ricci 1- (pointing form) He won his only point-to-point by ten lengths at Quakerstown and we bought him from Thomond O'Mara. A real chasing type, we haven't quite decided whether he'll start in bumpers or go novice hurdling.

Clonard Lad 6g Presenting - Furiella DAFTC Syndicate 3821/3-RPR 118h He won a bumper at the end of the 2009-10 season and hasn't run since finishing third on his hurdling debut at last year's Galway festival. He's back in pre-training and, as he appreciates good ground, we're looking at a spring campaign.

Cooldine 9g Beneficial - Shean Alainn Mrs Violet O'Leary P253/5PRPR 168c OR 154c We discovered a few days before he was due to run in the Hennessy in February that he had partial paralysis of his larynx. That might explain his loss of form, so we decided he needed a wind operation. He came back at Thurles where he led until two out before finishing second to Joncol, beaten 12 lengths. He stopped quickly that day and we're hoping it was just a case of needing the run. He should come on for that but he has a long way to go if he's to get back to the form he showed when winning the RSA Chase in 2009 and when losing out narrowly to Joncol in the 2010 Hennessy at Leopardstown.

Cousin Vinny 8g Bob Back - Trixskin Festival Syndicate 235816/ RPR 142c 154h OR 140c 147h Had to miss all last season due to a setback. He's back in pre-training and we'll try to get him on the track in the new year. He was placed a couple of times over fences but ran three times over hurdles at the end of 2009-10 and the intention is to keep him to hurdling this season.

Dare To Doubt 7m King's Theatre - Karawa J T Ennis 421133-RPR 140h She'll be hard to place this season but we might try to change tactics with her. She has made the running in most of her races and can be very free. If we can get her to settle and race properly then it should increase her prospects of winning more mares' races.

Darroun 3c Dalakhani - Darayka Mrs S Ricci 481 (Flat form) He's a French import who won a 1m5f Flat maiden in the provinces before we bought him. He's a fine, big type who should make a chaser one day. He goes juvenile hurdling and we'll have to see how he fares on winter ground. He's a sweet mover and might need it good.

Day Of A Lifetime 6g King's Theatre - Pheisty Mrs S Ricci 10/1-RPR 138h He won a bumper on his debut before boiling over in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in 2010 when the whole occasion upset him. He's been hard to train but there was a lot to like about the way he won his maiden hurdle at Leopardstown last season. He's a big, scopey individual and will be going over fences. On the evidence of his hurdles win, he could be an exciting prospect.

Deutschland 8g Red Ransom - Rhine Valley Allan McLuckie 0PF40-0 RPR 144c 144h OR 144c,132h He's as versatile as they come and has won over hurdles, fences and on the Flat. We will again be mixing it between hurdles and fences and he appreciates good dig in the ground. He has become a very careful jumper of fences and will be running in handicaps.

Dorset Square 7g Fantastic Light - Albula Shanakiel Racing Syndicate 211/7-01 RPR 139h OR 128h It was great that he won at Cheltenham on Saturday. He's hard to place in Ireland and we might have some fun with him on the Flat. He relishes soft going.

Drive Time 6g King Cugat - Arbusha Andrea & Graham Wylie 1P1FRPR 126h OR 125h He won both his starts on the Flat for Jim Bolger before twice winning over hurdles in Britain. We'll school him over fences with a view to going novice chasing and if that doesn't work out then he'll go back over hurdles.

Dr Machini 4f Dr Massini - Screaming Witness Alan Potts -2 RPR 109b She shaped well on her debut when second to a smart winner at Wexford last month. She should be able to win a bumper before going over hurdles and she should pay her way through the season.

Equus Maximus 11g Flemensfirth - Sambara Greenstar Syndicate 1/5P6P/BRPR 145c OR 139c He made it back for one run at the end of last season when he got brought down at the Punchestown festival. He likes soft and we're toying with the idea of going the hunter-chase route with him this season. Continues page 4 STABLE PROFILE WILLIE MULLINS Winners in Ireland/GB 2011-12 27 2010-11 106/4 2009-10 146/2 2008-09 136/3 2007-08 111/2 Profit/loss to pounds 1 stake 2010-11 -pounds 119.06/-pounds 12.92 2009-10 -pounds 8.59/-pounds 16.50 2008-09 -pounds 33.61/-pounds 17.25 2007-08 -pounds 56.49/+pounds 3.00 Prize-money 2010-11 pounds 2,023,515/pounds 483,874 Stable facts Yard Closutton, Bagenalstown, County Carlow How long Since 1987 Horses in training 100 Number of staff 30 Head grooms Dick Dowling, Gail Carlisle Travelling head groom Gary Davis Secretary Caitriona Murphy Stable jockeys Ruby Walsh, Paul Townend, Emmet Mullins, David Casey Amateurs Patrick Mullins. Katie Walsh, Declan Laverty Website


Willie Mullins supervises the morning work for an impressive array of talent at his Closutton stable
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 14, 2011
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