4 Willie Mullins Hurdlers to Follow

Cheltenham Festival 2024: 4 Willie Mullins Hurdlers to Follow

With 94 Cheltenham Festival winners on his CV, top Irish trainer Willie Mullins is undoubtedly a man to be feared at the annual National Hunt showpiece.
He heads into the 2024 edition of the meeting with every chance of completing a century and it would be a brave move to back against him achieving the feat.
Mullins will saddle fancied runners in most of the races, and could cost the bookmakers a small fortune if everything falls into place.
His talented team of novice hurdlers could easily claim victories on each day of the meeting, thus edging Mullins closer to the magical 100-winner mark.
To save you time and effort, we have scoured Mullins’ entries for the Cheltenham Festival to identify four novice hurdlers who will be tough to beat.

Ballyburn – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Ballyburn did not look fully tuned up when beaten on his hurdling debut at Fairyhouse in December, but has subsequently put that performance firmly behind him.
The six-year-old romped home by 25 lengths at Leopardstown over the festive period and followed up with an impressive Grade 1 victory at the same track in February.
Mullins has compared Ballyburn to Faugheen, who won a plethora of top-class races for the stable including the 2015 Champion Hurdle.
Ballyburn can still be backed at Evens to win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on the opening day and is banker material to get the job done in style.

Ile Atlantique – Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle

With Ballyburn likely to run in the Supreme, the way is clear for Ile Atlantique to showcase his talent in the Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle.
He was a wide-margin winner at Gowran Park on his hurdling debut in November, before finishing runner-up in a Grade 1 event at Naas in January.
Jockey Paul Townend did not cover himself in glory on that occasion, making too much use of the horse before being nabbed on the line by stablemate Readin Tommy Wrong.
Ile Atlantique will likely benefit from more patient tactics at Cheltenham and looks a good bet at around 4/1 on Irish betting apps to provide Mullins with another winner.

Jade De Grugy – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

Trainer Gordon Elliott has been talking as if defeat is out of the question for Brighterdaysahead in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, but Mullins will have other ideas.
Jade De Grugy was an eye-catching winner of a maiden hurdle at Leopardstown in December, before romping home in a Grade 3 race at Fairyhouse the following month.
Mullins’ assistant David Casey was extremely bullish about the mare after that performance, while jockey Brian Hayes could not hide his enthusiasm.
Odds of 9/4 look great value given that Mullins has won this race on five of the eight previous occasions it has been staged at the meeting.

High Class Hero – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

Mullins has several potential runners in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle including Readin Tommy Wrong, but one of his stablemates could be a better bet.
High Class Hero looked to be a typical improver from the Mullins stable after making it five from five under Rules in a novice hurdle at Thurles in January.
The seven-year-old boasts a similar profile to The Nice Guy, who triumphed at odds of 18/1 for the yard in this race in 2022.
Mullins also saddled Penhill (2017) and Monkfish (2020) to win the Albert Bartlett and may well add to his tally with High Class Hero this year.

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