A Plus Tard is ready to end Willie Mullins’ festive hot-streak as he bids to defend his crown in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown Christmas Festival
- Punters have been basking in a Willie Mullins wonderland so far this Christmas
- But A Plus Tard (Leopardstown, 2.20) can halt the Closutton bandwagon
- He is expected to be ‘hard to beat’ when he defends his crown in the Chase
Punters have been basking in a Willie Mullins wonderland this Christmas, but A PLUS TARD (Leopardstown, 2.20) can briefly halt the Closutton bandwagon in Tuesday’s Savills Chase.
Mullins would arguably have claimed a historic 1-2 in Sunday’s King George Chase had Asterion Forlonge stood up at the final fence and followed home wide-margined winner Tornado Flyer who was running free at the head of affairs.
Victories for other high-profile stablemates Ferny Hollow and Sir Gerhard have complemented successes for fellow Cheltenham aspirants Icare Allen and Facile Vega during a festive period to remember for their trainer.
Trainer Willie Mullins (pictured) has enjoyed rich success so far over the Christmas period
Mullins saddles four in Tuesday afternoon’s feature and, given the way Tornado Flyer routed his Boxing Day rivals when a 28-1 shock winner, it is difficult to dismiss any of the quartet.
Kemboy, winner of this prize three years ago, and John Durkan Chase runner-up Janidil arguably look the chief hopes, but both will probably need a career best to topple last year’s winner A Plus Tard who bids to defend his unbeaten track record on Tuesday.
Defeats in the 2020 Ryanair Chase and last season’s Gold Cup have left some questioning the seven-year-old at the highest level, but an imperious Betfair Chase triumph must surely have appeased even the harshest of critics.
Sauntering home 22 lengths clear of Haydock specialist Royale Pagaille confirmed A Plus Tard is the real deal and he has the opportunity to confirm his placing at the forefront of the Gold Cup ante-post markets with a dominant display on Tuesday.
The substantial rainfall which fell at Leopardstown ahead of this meeting may not see conditions play to Galvin’s strengths and a bigger danger may prove to be 2019 winner Delta Work, who was an early casualty in last year’s renewal.
A spin in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase behind Frodon, Galvin and Minella Indo should have blown away the cobwebs and Tuesday’s assignment may see him in a better light.
A Plus Tard is expected to be ‘hard to beat’ when he defends his crown in the Savills Chase
Given that Tornado Flyer improved dramatically for stepping up to three miles, Janidil may find a different gear now that he tackles that distance for the first time since finishing an honourable fifth in the 2020 Albert Bartlett Hurdle at Cheltenham.
He stuck to his task manfully in the John Durkan, recording a clear career best while also shaping as though he could step forward again when tackling more of a stamina test.
And he was still in touch with the leaders when departing four fences from home in the Flogas Chase here in February and boasts strong place claims.