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Min & Great Field should provide Mullins with plenty to cheer on Sunday.
Ireland's champion Jump trainer Willie Mullins is starting to take the wraps off some of his big guns and he is double-handed in terms of superstars on Sunday. Danny Archer takes a look at the action...
At Cork, Mullins saddles the exciting Great Field, who has forged a tremendous partnership with jockey Jody McGarvey in the G2 Hilly Way Chase (1.45pm). Unbeaten in his last five starts, the seven-year-old son of Great Pretender captured his first G1 contest in the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown in April 2017, despite his saddle slipping.
A facile winner of a G2 event at Navan in March, he has not been seen since, but remains a very exciting two-mile chaser for the year ahead. He faces a number of interesting contenders including former Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Special Tiara, Doctor Phoenix, Anibale Fly and A Toi Phil. However, Great Field seems to run well fresh and Mullins will be expecting big things this year.
The feature race at Punchestown is the G1 John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase (2,00pm) and Mullins again saddles another of his hottest prospects; Min. The seven-year-old son of Walk In The Park was a fine second to Altior in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March before finishing a neck second to Politologue in the G1 JLT Melling Chase at Aintree in April.
Fourth to stable companion Un De Sceaux in the Boylesports Champion Chase at the Punchestown Chase in April. He is a horse who goes well fresh so that should not provide a problem for Mullins' charge. Looking over his form, you could argue that this extended two mile and four furlong trip is probably better suited to Min than two miles and he should return to action with a victory.
However, he does face four rivals, headed by the 2018 Ryanair Chase winner Balko Des Flos who looked in need of the run when fourth on his return to action in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Downroyal in November. JLT Novices' Chase winner Shattered Love, 2017 Irish Gold Cup victor Edwulf and G1 Growise Champion Novice Chase scorer The Storyteller complete the five runners.
One horse to also keep an eye on this weekend is smart bumper performance Brewin'Upastorm who makes his eagerly anticipated debut over hurdles in the 1.20 at Huntingdon for Olly Murphy and Richard Johnson. A convincing winner on his debut under rules at Hereford, the five-year-old son of Milan was fourth in a hot Listed bumper at Newbury in February and is one to watch over timber this season.
The feature race at Huntingdon is the £65,000 G2 Peterborough Chase (2.25pm) which has attracted a very decent field for two mile and four furlong event. This looks a tough race to call with God's Own having to carry a 6lb penalty, but he does arrive here in good form having landed the G2 Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter last time out. However, I like the chances of Charbel who has run some fine races so far this term. Kim Bailey's charge defeated Baron Alco, the subsequent BetVictor Gold Cup winner at Chepstow in October, before running a cracker to finish a half-length second to G1 winner Politologue in the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot last month and this step up in trip should be fine. Others worth mentioning include Rene's Girl, Tea For Two and San Benedeto, who are all capable of going close in this running.
ODDSbible Racing Sunday Big-Race Tips:
1.20pm Huntingdon - Brewin'Upastorm
1.45pm Cork - Hilly Way Chase - Great Field
2.20pm Punchestown - John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase - Min
2.25pm Huntingdon - Peterborough Chase - Charbel