Mullins’ raiding party looks strong

Willie Mullins is shipping a 40-strong team of raiders across the Irish Sea this week and the Closutton handler is Betfred’s 5/4 favourite to be the most successful trainer at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival.

Mullins’ hand includes six favourites with Hurricane Fly (4/5 to win Champion Hurdle) expected to land Ireland’s champion trainer a winner on day one in the two-mile Champion Hurdle.

But Betfred’s Cheltenham Festival Top Trainer market is decided by the most seconds, thirds and fourth-placed runners as well as wins – which means the depth of each trainer’s yard will be fully tested (2/1 Nicky Henderson, 3/1 Paul Nicholls – Top Trainer).

Mullins has several big chances on Tuesday with Quevega (1/2 OLBG Mares Hurdle) also odds-on to register her fourth consecutive victory in The David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle, while Scotsirish (5/2) and Uncle Junior (4/1) go in the Glenfarclass Cross Country Handicap Chase.

The trainer can also call upon Quel Esprit, Soll, Champagne Fever, Allee Garde, Up The Beat and Call The Police to name but a few of his fancied challengers.

But Boston Bob (7/4 in Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle) is the horse that the 55-year-old is most looking forward to running at Prestbury Park.

“Boston Bob has impressed me at home for a long time. In his first piece of serious work, with a few horses rated 150 plus, he came there at the end of the gallop, poking up in the centre of them, on the bridle,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“He’s the future. You always like to have good young horses coming through, and he looks the pick.”

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