CHRISTMAS RACING COUNTDOWN Daqman puts the spotlight on Willie Mullins’ novice chasers and three Christmas races which usually produce rising stars.

TOMORROW: THE KING GEORGE Look out tomorrow for Daqman’s form and ratings guide to the King George


Punters want to know. What’s Willie Mullins getting ready for Cheltenham? The camps of Gordon Elliott and Henry De Bromhead may have lit big new bonfires at the festival.

But Willie, won’t he, be leading light again and land the Cheltenham top-trainer hat-trick in 2022, inevitably pushing up his grand total to the 70 mark (currently 65 winners since 1995)?

Here are three novice-chase tests over Christmas which reek of the Mullins magic. His likely lads (listed below) could be launched to stardom by these hot Limerick and Leopardstown trials.

🏇 CAPODANNO Turned over the odds-on Gaillard Du Mesnil (3rd) at Naas.

🏇 BLEU BERRY Chase winner at Listowel, ‘has always been a class act.’

🏇 EGALITY MANS Was to stay hurdling; but has forced their hand.

🏇 FERNY HOLLOW (5.0 Arkle with BETDAQ) Champion Bumper winner looks likely to face Gordon Elliott’s unbeaten Riviere d’Etel in the Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Monday.

🏇 FIGHTER ALLEN Tried to kick clear second last but no match for Stattler at Fairyhouse

🏇 FIVE O’CLOCK ‘A horse I think a lot of,’ says Mullins. Three-mile chaser.

🏇 GAILLARD DU MESNIL (13.0 Marsh Novices with BETDAQ, 34.0 for the Brown Advisory): see Capodanno.

🏇 GALOPIN DES CHAMPS (6.0 Brown Advisory with BETDAQ, 26.0 for the Marsh Novices) Won the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham and the Grade-1 novice hurdle at the Punchestown Festival. Not yet raced over fences.

🏇 GRAND BORNAND The grey has not been since winning at the Galway Festival.

🏇 JUNGLE BOOGIE Unbeaten over hurdles, related to strong chasing types.

🏇 ONTHEROPES Munster National winner; fourth in the Ladbrokes Trophy, 12lb higher

🏇 STATTLER Smooth victory over 2m 5f at Fairyhouse (6.0 NH Chase with BETDAQ).

⭕ 2.20 Leopardstown, Racing Post Novice Chase (Sunday) This 2m 1f novice chase was won in successive years by Douvan, Min and Footpad, all for Willie Mullins.

Both Douvan (2015) and Footpad (2016) went on to take the Leopardstown Arkle in February and the Cheltenham Arkle in March. Min subsequently won six Group 1s.

⭕ 2.40 Limerick, Faugheen Novice Chase (Sunday) Sir Des Champs (2011) went on under Mullins to win the Golden Miller at Cheltenham and the novice championship at Punchestown.

⭕ 1.45 Leopardstown, Neville Hotels Novice Chase (next Wednesday) Back In Focus, Willie’s 2012 winner of this, would go on to strike in the NH Chase at Cheltenham; Don Poli (2014) won the RSA; and Monkfish (2020) the Brown Advisory.


⭕ 12.50 Plumpton Mossy Fen looks vulnerable on this novice chase, even in the small field, on his first run for Christian Williams.

A Grade-2 hurdles winner nearly two years ago but finished well behind in the Ballymore at the Cheltenham Festival and switched unsuccessfully to fences.

Fourth for Nigel Twiston-Davies in one novice, pulled up in another. Both were class 2 and he was well backed.

Burrows Edge, who was Listed level over hurdles, switched to fences on the first day of this month, but lost touch after shedding a hind shoe at Haydock.

Nicky Henderson suggests that Burrows Edge’s troubles are behind him and the 2020 Lanzarote winner can make up for lost time over the big jumps this season. I took 2.26 on BETDAQ this morning.


⭕ 1.25 Plumpton A tasty handicap hurdle for mares pits the in-form Jonjo O’Neill against the out-of-form Harry Fry at the front of the market.

But On My Command, absent 66 days, has won immediately both times after she’s had a break, including her first hurdle for Fry, switched from Amy Murphy.

She was wearing a first-time tongue-tie that day. They’ve had another go at her wind since then but she still wears the tongue-tie for this, her first handicap.

On My Command gets 7lb from Sacre Coeur, yet another who’s switched yards. There wasn’t a pound for her when trained Charlie Mann.

But, since moving to Jonjo for handicaps, she’s been single-figure odds both times, and the last day was second, within half-a-length of a sequence horse (in fact, another mare completing four in a row). She looked all heart that day.

Last of 10 and last of seven. That’s how Shantung has fared at Plumpton, and she’s giving away three years to the youngsters.

Barney Bataleur returns to her winning trip but has never won this high in the handicap and is another who is aged eight, going on nine.

Golden Emblem is also high in the handicap and her winning tracks are the similar right-handers of Wincanton and Market Rasen. Even older, Ruby Yeats is a CD winner but needs rain.



⭕ 2.35 Plumpton Yet another to have moved yards is Full Of Light. A bumper winner for Margaret Mullins in Northern Ireland, the Leading Light grey has looked over hurdles as if needing another half-mile at least, and that’s a marker in his breeding, too.

He is another five-year-old taking on older horses. Those in this aged 8, 9, 10 and 11 have poor records, without a win over hurdles for two years and more, with the exception of Mr Jack.

Jack won four out of five in the early part of the year including back-to-back wins here at Plumpton over shorter.

Bryony Frost rides a CD winner here in November called Neverbeen to Paris, another with a big enough chance to make the market for Full Of Light.

BETDAQ value 3.6 Full Of Light


12.50 Plumpton (win 10)

1.25 Plumpton (win 10)
BET 3.25pts win SACRE COEUR

2.35 Plumpton (win 10, nap)
BET 3.75pts win FULL OF LIGHT

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Start with a bank and decide how much you can afford to lose over a period of time, and determine the size of your bets accordingly. Daqman makes this variation every day.