Tag Archive for: Corbetts Cross

Emmet Mullins honoured to land race named after late grandmother

Trainer Emmet Mullins took the race named in honour of his late grandmother as Corbetts Cross was much the best in the Maureen Mullins National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.

A 15-8 chance under Derek O’Connor, the chestnut travelled well throughout and let Mr Vango and Gina Andrews make the running.

As the race wore on Corbetts Cross advanced, and up the hill he pulled effortlessly clear of Patrick Mullins and Embassy Gardens (7-4 favourite) to secure a 17-length triumph.

Mullins – the son of renowned horse transporter George Mullins – said: “It was a great honour from the Jockey Club to name the race after granny and it’s extra special that we were able to win it.

“We were always very hopeful, I suppose he had the form in the book to be second in the Arkle today and he was able to show the same turn of foot over this longer trip. Derek got him into a great rhythm and he showed his true colours today, I think.

“The trip was probably a little worry with ground being so heavy, even though he has plenty form on heavy ground. I think having Derek on board was the main reason we decided to run in this race, to have his expertise is a big advantage.

“That race is a special test, so we’ll take it one day at a time and see how he is after it.”

O’Connor said: “It was a super performance, Emmet has done a wonderful job, he had him trained to perfection and he turned up in great shape.

“He had a very pleasing schooling session last Thursday morning in the hood. It’s not for me to say where he’ll go, but that was a very good performance.

“I have a nice book of rides for the week, but today was important to get us off to a good note.”



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Corbetts Cross opens fencing account at Fairyhouse

Corbetts Cross won what seems sure to prove an informative Jim Ryan Racecourse Services Beginners Chase at Fairyhouse.

Trained by Emmet Mullins, he was sent off the 9-4 favourite for last season’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle before crashing through the wing of the final flight when still holding every chance.

The six-year-old faced some stern opposition for this second start over fences, with Gordon Elliot’s Three Card Brag, Willie Mullins’ Nick Rockett and Henry de Bromhead’s Monty’s Star all highly thought of.

Corbetts Cross (2-1) ultimately won with a bit in hand for Mark Walsh as, jumping the last with a length to find on Three Card Brag who set the pace, he only had to be given a flick to quicken up smartly.

He won by three-quarters of a length from Three Card Brag with two and a half lengths back to Monty’s Star.

The winner was cut to 8-1 from 16s for the Turners at Cheltenham by Betfair and is 10s from 20s for the Brown Advisory.

“I suppose the run under his belt was a big advantage there. It’s tough going out there and that was probably the difference in it,” said Mullins.

“Getting a win in these beginners chases in Ireland is very difficult and they are all top-class races. I won’t necessarily be that confident the next day once they have a run under their belt.

“It’s great to get today out of the way and we can go on to bigger races hopefully.”

Corbetts Cross was the first leg of a treble for Walsh in the green and gold JP McManus colours.

De Bromhead’s Waterford Whispers (4-1) came with a wet sail in the Close Brothers Rated Novice Hurdle, while Willie Mullins’ Risk Belle (7-4) appeared the stable second string in the Grade Three WillowWarm Hurdle.

Unfortunately stable companion Gust Of Wind suffered a fatal injury when falling after jumping the third-last.

The winner, however, third in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham, was ultimately very impressive.

“I was very pleased with that performance and think she has improved nicely from last season,” said Mullins.

“She jumped well and Mark was very happy that she was going well all the way.

“Her handicap experience would have been a benefit to her and she likes this track, too.”



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Fencing plans for Corbetts Cross next season after Festival exit

Corbetts Cross will sit out the rest of the season and resume over fences next term after his dramatic exit from the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham.

The chestnut started out in the point-to-point field with Eugene O’Sullivan, graduating to rules racing for the same trainer and winning twice over hurdles before being bought by Paul Byrne and moving to Emmet Mullins’ yard.

His first run for new connections was a victory in the Grade Two Johnstown Novice Hurdle at Naas, after which he was sold to JP McManus and sent in the direction of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

The 9-4 favourite for that race under Mark Walsh, the gelding was challenging at the final flight but crashed through the wing to unseat his rider.

Mullins has no explanation for the run-out, but he does know the horse will not be seen again this term.

A novice chasing campaign instead beckons next season, something his trainer is looking forward to due to the horse’s point-to-point background.

He said: “Corbetts has gone home (Martinstown Stud), I suppose it was a funny little period for him.

“He changed yards, he wasn’t with me long when he won in Naas. We weren’t sure, we were undecided about the ground in Cheltenham and the gamble nearly paid off but spectacularly didn’t.

“He came out of it OK, we’ll get him home and let him relax and try to get him going early next season.

“I don’t know (what happened), I haven’t watched the replay back. We’ll just put it down as one of those things and move on to next year.

“He’ll be going over fences next year and coming from the point-to-point field he’s a great prospect.”



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Next stop Aintree for Stayers’ Hurdle hero Sire Du Berlais

Stayers’ Hurdle hero Sire Du Berlais will roll on to Aintree to defend his Jrl Group Liverpool Hurdle title next month.

The 11-year-old was a surprise 16-1 winner last year and created another shock when triumphing at Cheltenham as a 33-1 shot earlier this month.

He had shown little in four previous starts, but Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, says connections are keen to head back to Merseyside now.

Gordon Elliott (left) with Sire Du Berlais
Gordon Elliott (left) with Sire Du Berlais (Mike Egerton/PA)

“It was a fantastic result,” Berry said. “He was in great form and all credit to Gordon Elliott and his team.

“He has come out of the race good and the plan is now to go to Aintree.”

Zenta, a close-up third to Lossiemouth in the Triumph Hurdle, also looks set to run at Aintree.

Zenta (left) was beaten by Lossiemouth
Zenta (left) was beaten by Lossiemouth (Tim Goode/PA)

The Willie Mullins-trained four-year-old, who took a Grade Three at Fairyhouse in February, was only just run out of second place by Gala Marceau.

Berry added: “While it is a bit up in the air at the moment, if all was well with her, I’d say she will go to Aintree.”

However, one runner not due to make the trip is Corbetts Cross, who ran out when well in contention at the final flight in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.

The Emmet Mullins-trained six-year-old was snapped up by McManus ahead of his Festival run but while things did not go according to plan at Cheltenham, connections will not bid for compensation this term.

Berry, said: “There was a bit of a gap in the railing and he just copped it. He came back OK, but he is finished for the season.

“We’ll see how he is over the summer before making any plans for him.”



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‘All systems go’ for Noble Yeats’ National defence

Emmet Mullins has confirmed Noble Yeats to be firmly on course for his bid for back-to-back victories in the Randox Grand National next month.

The eight-year-old carried Sam Waley-Cohen to a famous success in the Aintree spectacular last season on what proved to be the amateur rider’s swansong.

Noble Yeats has enjoyed another fine season, with wins at Wexford and Aintree followed by third place in the Cotswold Chase before his staying-on fourth behind Galopin Des Champs in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Mullins reports his stable star to have taken those exertions in his stride and is looking forward to seeing him return to Merseyside to defend his Grand National crown on April 15.

“Noble Yeats looks great and if he hadn’t run in the Gold Cup last week I’d be saying I’d have to work him this week, so it is all systems go for the National,” said the trainer.

“It will be a mammoth task to carry that weight (11st 11lb), but at least we know he’ll take to the course and stay the trip, so those are two big ticks.”

Another Mullins inmate to perform with credit in defeat at the Cheltenham Festival was Corbetts Cross, who was being delivered with a major challenge in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle only to run out at the final flight.

Trainer Emmet Mullins
Trainer Emmet Mullins (Brian Lawless/PA)

The JP McManus-owned six-year-old, who had won on each of his three previous runs, could now be set for a break.

Mullins added: “It was one of those things with Corbetts Cross and we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

“I’m not sure if we’ll see him again this year as he’s had a funny time since I’ve had him. I ran him at Naas not knowing whether I’d be going to Cheltenham or not and then it nearly came off, but we are in a different position now and will gather our thoughts and reassess him.”



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‘All systems go’ – Three Card Brag an ace to play for Elliott in Albert Bartlett

Gordon Elliott’s Three Card Brag is expected to relish a step up in trip in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle on Friday.

The six-year-old has had a productive season so far, winning on debut at Galway and then coming home third in a Grade Three novice hurdle at Navan in November – beaten just a length and a quarter.

Up in trip at Naas he then missed out by a neck in the Grade Two Navan Novice Hurdle, a race won by subsequent Supreme Novices’ Hurdle fourth Inthepocket.

Three Card Brag then headed to Fairyhouse to score a 12-length success in a January novice event, running like a horse that will thrive when asked to take on a longer distance.

“We’ve very happy with him, we’ve always thought the step up in trip would suit him,” said Iain Turner, racing manager to co-owners the McNeill family.

“We’ve not wanted to go there over three miles too early but we’ve always thought he’ll stay, his pedigree suggests he’ll stay and how he hits the line in his races suggests he’ll stay.

“It’s been the plan for a long time, he’s a chaser for next season but we think he’ll go very well – it’s all systems go.

“Early in the season at Navan, the ground was quicker than ideal and the trip was certainly shorter than ideal, but he still had the ability to finish third in a Graded race and he stepped up to finish second at Naas behind Inthepocket.

“While not winning, I still think Inthepocket performed with credit in the Supreme.

“We’re happy with how he’s gone, Gordon’s horses are looking and running well. He’s looked like our best chance of the week and he remains that way.”

Corbetts Cross holds a live chance for Grand National-winning trainer Emmet Mullins.

The six-year-old has run once for Mullins, winning the Johnstown Novice Hurdle by a head after changing hands having previously been successfully campaigned by Eugene O’Sullivan.

That race was a Grade Two event over nearly two miles at Naas and he will now step up to both Grade One level and a distance of three miles at Prestbury Park.

Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, said: “Emmet seems very happy with him and we’re hoping for a bit of luck with him. It will be nice to see him and seeing how he gets on.

“We don’t know an awful lot and haven’t owned him that long, but Emmet seems to be really happy and he said he came out of the Naas race well and we’ve left it all up to Emmet.

“We’re looking forward to him and hope he runs well.”

Joseph O’Brien’s Dawn Rising runs in the same McManus silks, a six-year-old seen twice this season in two-and-a-half-mile novice hurdles.

The gelding was a winner in the Monksfield Novice Hurdle, a Grade Three at Navan, and then came home third in the Grade One Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle in early January.

Berry said: “It looks like he is going to love the trip and the ground and has done very little wrong.

“Joseph is very happy with him and we hope for a good run.”

Willie Mullins’ Embassy Gardens was most recently seen routing the field in a Thurles Novice in January, claiming a 35-length victory after prior placed runs in shorter-distances races.

Jockey Paul Townend said on his Ladbrokes blog: “He is an improving horse as he’s moved up in trip.

“The form of his win at Thurles isn’t the best form in the race but he was so impressive winning by 35 lengths that day.

“He seems to be going the right way and three miles around Cheltenham should be right up his street.

“I think he will give a good account of himself.”

Of stablemate Shanbally Kid, the rider added: “Shanbally Kid is one I tipped up as an each-way shot in the preview night.

“He has been getting his act together and the trip will suit him as will the New course.”



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Corbetts Cross claims Grade Two honours in Naas thriller

Corbetts Cross made a winning debut for Emmet Mullins when landing the Johnstown Novice Hurdle at Naas.

The six-year-old was previously trained to point-to-point and hurdle success by Eugene O’Sullivan before joining Mullins earlier in the year.

A 7-4 chance on his first run for the stable, Corbetts Cross travelled well under Donagh Meyler and took on Found A Fifty, the 11-10 favourite, in the home straight.

The two locked horns all the way to the line, with Mullins’ runner just prevailing by a head in the end to take Grade Two honours.

“It was a nice performance. I’d say it was a good race, two nice horses and he’s a very nice horse,” said Mullins.

“He showed a great attitude but I suppose it’s nothing we didn’t know. He’s been a very good horse all season for Maxine and Eugene (O’Sullivan).

“Paul (Byrne, owner) said that has possibly opened up a few more avenues and he said he’s open to some supplementary entries.”

Coral make Corbetts Cross the 5-1 co-favourite for the Albert Bartlett and when asked if that race would be on the cards, Mullins added: “That’s just one option, Paul is very keen to explore all avenues.

“He could go anywhere and he might not even go to Cheltenham if the ground didn’t come up right. He’ll be given every option and we’ll take it from there. He’s versatile.

“Once it’s safe ground, he’s a big horse and is still a novice. The way we are thinking, there are going to be plenty more big days ahead of us and we won’t run him on fast ground this season.”

When asked about dropping back in trip, Mullins added: “He’s shown gears and he jumped straight into it at home from the word go.

“He’s just a very good horse, that’s what we were told we were buying when we were getting him. It’s been good business.

“It shows the quality of horse that we are dealing with, to be able to mix over three miles the last day and two miles on faster ground today.

“He’s a high quality animal and it’s very exciting looking forward to the future.

“They didn’t hang about there, they went a good gallop the whole way. He’s no slouch.

“It was a fair performance and the second is held in high regard.”

On the long term prospect of the horse being even better over fences, he said: “It’s the old cliche and half the time it never materialises.

“He has point-to-point form and comes from a good school in the O’Sullivans. Eugene’s are all old-fashioned chasers and he has plenty of jumping done over fences.

“That’s what he was bought for and hopefully next season could be a big season for him.”



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