Tag Archive for: Milkwood

Mulholland sweet on Milkwood’s County chance

Neil Mulholland is confident Milkwood can outrun his odds in the McCoy Contractors County Hurdle at Cheltenham on Friday week.

The nine-year-old was beaten just over two lengths into third place in the 2021 running of the fiercely-competitive handicap before going on to win the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr and finish second in the Galway Hurdle later that summer.

It is fair to say results have been mixed since, with a fourth place at Wetherby last month his latest effort.

But his rating has dropped from a high of a 151 to a perch of 141 ahead of his return to the Cotswolds, meaning he is now only 1lb higher than when he lined up for the same race two years ago – and Mulholland believes the general 25-1 shot is back to his best.

“He’ll run in the County Hurdle and he’s back to where he was, hopefully,” said the trainer.

“He’s on a dangerous mark now and I’d say he’s as good as he’s been for a long time.

“I’d say Sam (Twiston-Davies) will probably ride him.”

Mulholland’s other likely Festival runner is Lord Accord, who is primed to line up for Tuesday’s Ultima Handicap Chase – a race the Somerset handler won with The Druids Nephew in 2015.

Lord Accord won over fences at Cheltenham earlier in the season and has been saved for the Festival since finishing down the field in the Cleeve Hurdle in late January.

Lord Accord in action at Uttoxeter
Lord Accord in action at Uttoxeter (Mike Egerton/PA)

A decision on who will replace his sidelined rider Richie McLernon has yet to be made.

Mulholland added: “The horse is in good order. He had an away-day yesterday (Tuesday) and I’m very happy with him.

“We’ll decide later in the week who rides him, once we’ve had a good look at the confirmations.

“We’ve won the Ultima before and had a good few horses placed at the Festival. I wouldn’t be surprised if both horses run big races this year as they’re going there in good order.”

Cleeve date for Lord Accord before chasing return

Neil Mulholland will send Lord Accord to the Dahlbury Stallions at Chapel Stud Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham before he goes back over fences.

The lightly-raced eight-year-old has won three of his nine starts over fences and triumphed in six of 17 races under rules, with three runner-up efforts to his name.

The consistent Yeats gelding won at Cheltenham in October, before chasing home previous King George VI Chase winner Frodon in the Badger Beer Handicap Chase at Wincanton.

His last run saw him finish ninth to Le Milos in the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury.

Lord Accord (nearside) has a hurdles date
Lord Accord (nearside) has a hurdles date (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Mulholland is keen to give him a tune-up before going back over fences and said: “It wasn’t the worst run in the world in the Hennessy (Coral Gold Cup) and we have put him away for the winter now.

“Obviously, he won at Cheltenham and finished second in the Badger Ale.

“He will probably run in the Ultima Handicap Chase, but he will probably run in the Cleeve Hurdle in between.”

Milkwood will wait for suitable ground
Milkwood will wait for suitable ground (Jeff Holmes/PA)

Meanwhile, Milkwood, who finished runner-up in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las before getting stuck in the mud when last of four to Knappers Hill in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton, will be kept on the sidelines until the ground is better.

Mulholland added: “Milkwood got a little bit jarred up after Wincanton. We will just wait for a bit of nicer ground and to be fair, he will run more when the ground is right.

“He is in good order and we are happy with him.

“We have had minus 10Cs, minus 8Cs and I do feel that it has knocked the horses a little bit. It is hard to keep them on the go when it gets like that.”