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Ruby Walsh shares his thoughts on Willie Mullins' current crop of chasers

Jonathan Vine 24 Oct 2018
Ruby Walsh on board Un De Sceaux after winning the 2017 Ryanair.

Paddy Power racing ambassador Ruby Walsh has shared his views on the top chasers in Willie Mullins camp.

The Kildare jockey shares his views on Footpad, Douvan, Great Field, Un De Sceaux, Min, Al Boum Photo and his Gold Cup hopes for Bellshill and Killultagh Vic. 

Speaking about Footpad, Ruby, a columnist with Paddy Power News, said all doors are open for the outstanding racehorse. But the obvious road for the Arkle winner looks to be the Champion Chase.

"From the first morning we schooled him over fences, we were raving about him. Jumping fences has brought a huge amount of improvement in him and like Samcro over hurdles, he and Presenting Percy were the stars over fences last season. He's only six so the best is hopefully still to come." 

After breaking his leg on Al Boum Photo at Cheltenham last March, Ruby was forced to watch Douvan’s demise from the sidelines. 

"I thought Douvan would win the Champion Chase. I was reading the commentary on my phone. Who knows what would have happened had he not fallen at the fourth last. It was amazing to get him back. The engine is there, he just hasn't had any luck and it would be great for the racing public to see the horse that we think he is."

Ruby sounded bullish about the prospects of Un De Sceaux, perhaps in the Tingle Creek or at Ascot, adding that the John Durkan is another possible route: "He's a remarkable little horse and even now, he's still got as much enthusiasm as he ever had. His appetite for exercise and training is incredible. I can't wait to get my leg back over him."

Great Field’s natural ability and cruising speed means that the door is open for him on the two mile chase front and following Min’s keen run at Aintree in the Champion Chase, he remarked that it could be time for a change of tact.  
“He started off over 2m4f at Gowran so I wouldn't be surprised if he went up in trip this season,” Ruby said.

On Al Boum Photo, he adds: " He developed into a top-class novice chaser and you'd imagine he's going to have to head down the Grade 1 chase route over 3m and see where it takes him. I think he’s crying out for 3m-plus.”

He continued: “Bellshill has had a stop-start season. We've always thought a huge amount of him. He's rated 168 and he doesn't have a huge amount of improvement to do to be a genuine Gold Cup horse. He looked to stay in the Irish National so the Gold Cup trip shouldn't be a problem for him. Non-stayers don't win the Gold Cup and he's got something a lot of other horses don’t have. He's a really exciting horse."

Ruby is not writing off Killultagh Vic's Gold Cup hopes either, claiming that the "experience he gained last season should stand to him."

While Invitation Only is a horse who "has a huge race in him", and similarly Acapella Bourgeois' novice form should stand up to the test off a mark of 150.

Races like the Thyestes Chase, Irish and English Grand Nationals could be targets for Pairofbrowneyes who "bolted in on his first run for us and could be still well handicapped", according to Ruby.

The English Grand National will also be the number one aim for Pleasant Company, who finished a gallant runner-up back in April.

"In another stride, he was the Grand National winner and it looks like the mistake the year before cost him badly. All roads will lead down the same path again."

Similarly, he adds that in the long run, Rathvinden is another horse which might be geared towards the Aintree Grand National.

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Ruby Walsh shares his thoughts on Willie Mullins' current crop of chasers

Paddy Power racing ambassador, Ruby Walsh has shared his views on the top chasers in Willie Mullins camp on Tuesday 23rd October.

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