What Races Will Willie Mullins Win at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival?

2023 Cheltenham Festival

No trainer in the history of the Cheltenham Festival has ever had a firmer grip on proceedings at Prestbury Park than the dominance we have witnessed from Willie Mullins in the last 12 years or so. The Irishman has won the Leading Trainer award nine times since his maiden success in 2011 and has now racked up 88 winners to make him the most successful trainer in the Festival’s history.

It is an incredible rise to prominence and one that is showing no signs of letting up anytime soon. At the time of writing, Mullins has 10 favourites across the board and an incredible 19 horses in the top three of the racing betting for the Festival’s 14 Grade 1 races alone. 

Therefore, is it any wonder that the Closutton handler is such a short favourite to win a career 10th and fifth-straight top trainer accolade this year? That said though, it will still take something special to match or even better his record 10 winners from last year. So, let’s take a look at some of the races we think Mullins will boast the winner in at this year’s renewal. 

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Mullins enjoys a winner in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, with seven victories in the curtain raiser to date. And, he looks set to make it eight as Facile Vega is the favourite for the two-mile, half-a-furlong contest at 9/4. 

Some might not be convinced by the son of the great Quevega, who won the Mares’ Hurdle six times in a row between 2009 and 2014, after his recent outing at the Dublin Racing Festival. But he was arguably going at too quick a pace and burned out before the last as a result. 

If it wasn’t for that disappointing display, Facile Vega would be going off at odds-on. Instead, 9/4 looks like a fantastic price for the punters. Mullins also has two other horses in the top four of the betting, with Impaire Et Passe (9/2) and Il Etait Temps (5/1). That gives him a great chance of winning this.

Champion Bumper

There’s arguably no other race at the entire Festival that Mullins is more likely to win than the Champion Bumper. The Closutton boss has won the flat race 12 times since its inauguration in 1992 and four of the last five renewals, only further demonstrating just how good his constant conveyor belt of talent over Ireland is. 

At the time of writing, 14 of the 44 entries are from Mullins’ yard. Of course, not all of those will line up with the maximum field of 24. But he has some solid claims, with It’s For Fun the favourite at 7/2 after winning by 10 lengths on debut under rules. Fun Fun Fun, Chapeau De Soleil, Fact To File and Western Diego are all 10/1 or shorter. 

Triumph Hurdle

Incredibly, the top three in the betting for the Triumph Hurdle are all out of Closutton — with Blood Destiny and Lossiemouth the joint-favourites for the day four opener at 7/4, while Gala Marceau is next in line at 5/1. 

Lossiemouth was the long-time favourite and remained at the fore of the betting despite her defeat to Gala Marceau in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle last month, with the consensus that if she was badly hampered, she would have defeated her stablemate for a second time after a seven-length win earlier in the season.

However, Blood Destiny has now joined her at the top of the market after going two for two over hurdles this season. Closutton’s number one jockey Paul Townend is going to have a massive decision to make when it comes to deciding which horse he wants to ride in this race.

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