Published 8th Feburary
Even before he became the all-conquering power that he has been in the last decade, Willie Mullins was considered the go-to man when it came to bumpers. Ever since he trained and rode Wither Or Which to success in the Champion Bumper in 1996, he has added eight more victories to his tally.
While the emphasis in the Mullins camp has undergone changes that have seen him concentrate on proven horses off the Flat and from France that are not eligible for bumpers, he showed in no uncertain terms in the 2018 renewal of this race that he is still a potent force in the division when saddling four of the first five home including the winner Relegate.
Despite this season being a relatively quiet one for Mullins on the bumper front, he was responsible for busting the division wide open with APPRECIATE IT at the Dublin Racing Festival. The six-year-old had finished third to last year’s Champion Bumper winner Envoi Allen in a point-to-point back in February 2018 prior to winning a similar contest the following month.
The six-year-old had finished third to last year’s Champion Bumper winner Envoi Allen in a point-to-point back in February 2018 prior to winning a similar contest the following month
An absence of over 18 months followed, but the son of Jeremy soon started making up for lost time. An encouraging racecourse debut in a bumper at Fairyhouse in November was followed by a victory in a bumper over two-and-a-half miles at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting.
Dropped back to two miles on less testing ground for a Grade 2 bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival, he produced an exceptional performance to take the field apart and win by 7½ lengths. What made the performance so impressive was that he shaped in complete contrast to what might have been expected from one that was dropping in trip and racing on firmer ground than before.
He travelled very well indeed and showed a serious turn of foot to put the race to bed in a matter of strides. Considering we know he stays well, it was a very taking effort indeed that very much stamped him as the one to beat in the Champion Bumper.
Recommended Bet (scale 1-5 points):
Weatherbys Champion Bumper, Wenesday 11th March
2pts win APPRECIATE IT (9-4 Betfair Sportsbook, bet365, Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, William Hill)