Footpad Aiming to Maintain Perfect Chase Record in the Arkle
There are a number of short-priced favourites who will be aiming to justify market support at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival. Willie Mullins has a number of chances and Footpad is rated as one of his best. The sprightly six-year-old was foot-perfect when making all at Leopardstown in the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle at the beginning of February, finishing five lengths ahead of Petit Mouchoir.
He is three from three since stepping up to the larger obstacles and will be hoping to maintain that perfect record in the hotly-contested two-mile event at Prestbury Park. Footpad has previous course form, having picked up a creditable fourth place in the 2017 Champion Hurdle when finishing behind Nicky Henderson’s Buveur D’Air and My Tent or Yours. Jockey Paul Townend described it as a “thrill to ride him” before later adding that “he jumped like a stag”.
The Mullins charge is a standout price of 11/8 with Betfair but that price is likely to shorten before the off. The aforementioned Petit Mouchoir is the second favourite in the betting at 11/4 and is likely to ask plenty of questions but could ultimately fall short once again.
Getabird Should Get Willie Mullins Off to the Perfect Start
The opening race of the Cheltenham Festival always evokes plenty of excitement and this year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle looks a suitably competitive affair to help get things underway. Willie Mullins’ Getabird dominates the betting and is priced at 6/4 to help the Irish trainer get off to the perfect start. Owner Rich Ricci has talked up the chances of his charge, who put in an eye-catching performance in the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
Getabird is likely to face competition from Kalashnikov and Mengli Khan, who is trained by Gordon Elliott. The promising six-year-old is also entered in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, which takes place 24 hours later.