Patrick Mullins expects Bacardys to make Festival mark
Wednesday 15 February 2017
Patrick Mullins believes Bacardys could be competitive in either the Neptune or the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at next month's Cheltenham Festival.
The amateur rider made it three wins from four rides on the six-year-old, who is trained by his father Willie Mullins, when claiming Grade One glory in the two-and-a-quarter-mile Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown last Sunday.
Bacardys holds entries in each of the three novice hurdle events at Cheltenham, but is highly likely to step up in distance for either the two-mile-five-furlong Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle or the three-mile Albert Bartlett, rather than going back to two miles for the Supreme.
A final decision on his Festival target is unlikely to be made until much nearer the time, according to Mullins junior.
He said: "H e has just won a Grade One over two and a quarter miles and the Neptune will be considered seriously as well as the Albert Bartlett.
"He will stay three miles as he won a point-to-point over that trip, but I think he is quick enough for the Neptune.
"I know that the Neptune has been a much luckier race for us than the Albert Bartlett, which we haven't won, but I think he would be competitive in either race."
Although passed over by both Ruby Walsh and Paul Townend on this occasion, Mullins is realistic about the prospects of getting back on board Bacardys at Prestbury Park.
"It was a magic weekend. We get on very well and he is nice horse to ride," said Mullins.
"He was going to win very impressively first time out at Cork before he fell, then he pulled a shoe off when he won at Christmas, that is why he wasn't as impressive. He had just had a bit of bad luck more than anything else.
"When I pulled him out to the outside, he really started motoring towards the last. I wanted a clear run with him as he is not the quickest to get into gaps. I knew with a clear run he would gallop all the way to the line.
"If Ruby or Paul want to ride him, they will get first choice. It would be nice to be back on him at Cheltenham if they go elsewhere, so I might get back on him.
"It was great to ride him at Leopardstown and if I don't get to ride him again, it won't matter too much.
"Hopefully I will get my leg up on him again at some point, though."