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Mister could be a Gift of a price for magic Mullins

Willie Mullins has won the Supreme a record seven times
Willie Mullins has won the Supreme a record seven times

GIVEN he trains six of the 12 declared for today’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (1.30pm), it’s hard to not think Willie Mullins will have a serious impact on who will win the opening race of the 2024 Cheltenham Festival.

He’s of course won it a record seven times and it will be heavily odds-on that he does so again, but I’m not entirely sure the market leaders are the ones to be getting stuck into.

The bookmakers have Tullyhill as the 3/1 favourite and while he clearly has a serious engine and hacked up in a Listed race at Punchestown last time, his jumping is, at best, moderate, and he might just get found out here.

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This is a big step up in class and I just think his jumping might crumble given the pace they’ll go, so he doesn’t look a great price as a result.

Mystical Power could be very good and is a bit of an unknown quantity, but he looks a very fast horse and the soft ground might just blunt the turn of foot he showed in the Moscow Flyer at Punchestown last time.

I don’t think this is the right race for Slade Steel, as he looks a horse with plenty of stamina and I’d rather have seen him run in the Gallagher tomorrow.

The one I’m still interested in is Mullins’ MISTERGIF.

We put him up in the ante-post column last week at 14/1 and I haven’t found a reason yet to suggest that quotes of around 10/1 still don’t offer a good amount of value.

I thought it was noteworthy that of all the Mullins runners, his assistant, Patrick Mullins, was bigging him up on Monday morning and having watched back his first and only start for the Closutton handler at Limerick, I think this is a horse with untapped potential.

Granted he didn’t beat much, but he won by 18 lengths and, in all honesty, it could have been 30 as he won with any amount in hand.

The way he jumped was what really struck me and he looks a horse who has much more to offer.

He won’t have any issues with bad ground and as I mentioned last week, Mullins often has a horse that runs well in this race which isn’t particularly well-fancied in the betting.

I can see him being smuggled into it under Daryl Jacob and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him shorten up before the off as I’m not sure it’s the strongest renewal ever.

The other one that I’ve come round to is FIREFOX, who continues to drift to what looks quite a backable price.

He scoped badly after his last run at Naas and I’m not sure he stayed the 2m4f trip.

The fact he convincingly beat Ballyburn in December is obviously very strong form now and I could see him resuming progress back down at this shorter trip.

He’s done the majority of his winning on soft ground, so the fact it’s going to be pretty hard work at Prestbury Park won’t bother him and at 11/2 I think he looks the best value of those towards the top of the market.

POINTERS

Firefox                   1.30pm Cheltenham

Already advised

Mistergif e/w     14/1