Bally Longford to go one place better in Bumper

If Navan today survives an 8am inspection then most interest will centre on whether Patrick Mullins can set a new record for winners by an amateur in a calendar year.

The record stands at 72, set by Billy Parkinson way back in 1915. Mullins too is on 72 and has to be long odds-on to finally break it, after being frustrated by the loss of Downpatrick on Wednesday.

His first of two rides is on Touch The Eden in the Christmas Novice Hurdle and you have to fancy the pair to do the business.

The ex-French horse made a fine debut in this country at Thurles last month, justifying some hefty market support.

When asked to go and win his race in the straight, he found plenty to shoot clear of stable companion, Raise Hell, and score by seven and a half lengths.

Far more is required now, against three useful opponents, but Touch The Eden can take the step up in class in his stride.

Mullins can complete a double on the nap selection, Bally Longford, in the Bumper. The ex-point-to-pointer went down by six lengths to Curley Bill at Downpatrick, but was uneasy in the betting then and, one suspects, will be stronger in the ring on this occasion.

Henry de Bromhead’s Sizing Gold is hard enough to oppose in the Slane Maiden Hurdle. He proved no match for Seefood at Fairyhouse and then Don Cossack at Navan, but this looks decidedly easier.

At Thurles tomorrow, Willie Mullins looks very much the trainer to follow and has three real possibilities, starting with Midnight Game in the Listed Horse And Jockey Hotel Hurdle.

He was disappointing last term, but reappeared in decent shape at Fairyhouse earlier this month to easily beat Staying Article.

Mullins’ Unika La Reconce, another product of France, gets the vote in the Gift Horse Gallery Horse And Jockey Hotel Mares’ Maiden Hurdle.

She failed to win in four outings in her native country, but ended her time there with a creditable effort when second over fences at Enghien in September.

A third Mullins winner can come with once-raced Goldboy, fourth behind Some Article at the Punchestown festival in April, in the Bumper.

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