Mullins’ Melbourne Cup duo set for new bid if Royal Ascot goes to plan

Posted 3 weeks ago in More

So much has gone to plan for Irish racing trainer Willie Mullins of late, most notably a dominant Cheltenham Festival where he was crowned leading trainer for the 11th occasion and sixth year in a row.

But while he was able to celebrate an unprecedented 100th winner at Cheltenham in March, the one small blot on his copy book in recent months was another failed attempt at securing a really big win on the flat racing scene.

Despite having horses previously finish second, third, fourth and sixth in the €5.4million Melbourne Cup, his team headed to Australia for November, with what was seemingly their best chance of winning the big prize, described by Mullins himself as “right up there with anything I’ve won”.

Vauban duly went off as clear favourite but ultimately came up well short in 14th, while Mullins’ other Melbourne Cup runner, Absurde, had to make do with a slightly more creditable seventh place finish.

Whilst understandably disappointed in the race’s immediate aftermath, Mullins was undeterred from another tilt in the future.

“It’s a great prize, it’s a great day, great occasion,” he said. “If we get one good enough, we will try again.”

Despite switching back to jumps to secure one of Mullins’ many Cheltenham winners, another flat racing season lies ahead for Absurde, and indeed Vauban. Both are on the initial entry list for June’s Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

Should they impress and come through unscathed, Glorious Goodwood may be next on the agenda, before the pair are wrapped in proverbial cotton wool ahead of another trip Down Under.

Speaking more recently, Mullins added, “I think Vauban is coming back to collect this year.”

“We’re going to do it right this year, hopefully with better luck.”

“We’ll see you in November!”

It’d be a brave person that ruled out Mullins from finally getting the big flat racing victory he so evidently craves. And Vauban can currently be backed at odds of 16/1.


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