Posted: 6th Dec 2015
Yorkhill: at the top of the market for the Neptune and Albert BartlettPICTURE: Caroline Norris (racingpost.com/photos)
WILLIE MULLINS' vice-like grip on the ante-post markets for the Cheltenham Festival tightened on Sunday after the trainer saddled a treble at Punchestown.
Yorkhill led the way after being promoted to 10-1 favourite for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle - and 12-1 joint-favourite for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle - following a near faultless performance in the 2m4f maiden hurdle.
It leaves Mullins in charge of the top three in the Neptune betting with Bellshill, like Yorkhill owned by Andrea and Graham Wylie, and Long Dog next in the list.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup market paints a similar picture with Mullins mob-handed and making another weekend move a day after Don Poli at Aintree, courtesy of emphatic John Durkan scorer Djakadam.
Mullins dominates the Gold Cup market
The Susannah Ricci-owned six-year-old, who finished second in the Gold Cups at Cheltenham and Punchestown last season, was cut to 8-1 (from 10) by Ladbrokes in a market Mullins has Don Poli and Vautour priced at 7-1 and 6-1 respectively.
Pont Alexandre 14-1 for the RSA
The Ricci colours were seen in the Punchestown winner's enclosure in the next race as Pont Alexandre defied a near 1,000-day absence to bring up a treble for Mullins and Ruby Walsh in the 2m6f beginners' chase.
Mullins compared the seven-year-old to Coneygree saying: "The sort of ability he has you would say at this stage he will be aimed at the RSA."
Paddy Power reacted by slashing Pont Alexandre's price for the RSA Chase to 14-1 (from 33-1).
In Britain, Al Ferof was cut to 20-1 (from 40) for the King George and also earned a 12-1 first-show quote for Ryanair Chase - both with Paddy Power - after his sparkling display in the Betfred Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.
On a memorable day at Kelso for local trainer Sandy Thomson, stable star Seeyouatmidnight added the gloss to Neptune Equester's back-to-back win in the Scottish Borders National with a smooth victory in the 2m7½f novice chase.
The Grade 2-winning hurdler was trimmed into 25-1 (from 33) for the RSA following his first success over fences.
Return to news listings.