Festival Target Unclear For Mikael D'Haguenet


Tagged under: 3.20 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase 3m 2 1/2f

The Willie Mullins trained Mikael D'Haguenet is currently a top price 8/1 for the RSA Chase, behind clear favourite Time For Rupert, but the exciting novice is far from certain to contest the event, as the County Carlow handler is planning to enter the 6 year-old in a number of alternative races at the Festival.

The French-bred winner of the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle back in March, the son of Lavirco has always looked a potentially exciting prospect when sent over fences, and that view is still very much alive, even though the gelding was a last fence faller on his chasing debut at Fairyhouse last week.

Speaking about the horses' mishap, Mullins said: What happened at the last fence was the sort of thing that can happen to any horse, especially a novice, and he has been off the track for a long time."

Speaking on At The Races, the County Carlow trainer outlined future plans, saying: " He'll be entered in everything at Cheltenham. He won the Ballymore over two miles and five ( furlongs ) there, but he has plenty of speed over two.

"After two five I'm not sure where we go. The RSA is three mile one and the Gold Cup three mile two and that's another ball game."

A general 25/1 for Gold Cup success, Ladbrokes, who are going non-runner no bet on the four championship events, have declined to quote the gelding at this stage for the three mile two furlong contest, although Mullins has stated that the horse will be entered for the Festival showpiece.

Regarding more immediate plans before deciding on a Cheltenham target, Mullins said: " I'm looking at the entries for Christmas. He's in the two- mile novice on St Stephen's Day and he's in the three-mile novice later in the week.

" We might consider giving him another week and come back for a beginners' chase or Listed or Graded chase somewhere."

While it would certainly add a little spice to what is already looking a fascinating Gold Cup picture, running an inexperienced novice ( however talented) in the race, can prove extremely dangerous.

Connections of Lanzarote and Gloria Victus, to name just two, learned to their cost that the Gold Cup is a race that take's no prisoners, and going to the well too early can often prove fatal.

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