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Mullins expecting Poli to flourish
27 Apr 2015 12:12
Willie Mullins believes the penny is finally starting to drop with Don Poli as the Cheltenham Festival hero bids to follow up in the Growise Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown on Tuesday.
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Despite racing lazily for much of the extended three-mile journey in the RSA Chase, the Gigginstown House Stud-owned six-year-old found top gear from the home turn and ran out an emphatic winner to stake an early claim for next season's Cheltenham Gold Cup.
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He will be long odds-on to make it four from four over fences on the opening day of the Punchestown Festival.
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"I love watching jockeys on Don Poli," Mullins told At The Races.
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"He gives Bryan (Cooper) heart attacks, but I love horses like that - lazy horses.
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"The jockeys have to work a bit harder and they always want me to put cheekpieces and blinkers on them, but to me that's cheating.
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"He's such a big galoot, looking around everywhere, and he's interested in everything.
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"He's only copping on now he has to race and actually pass the other horses.
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"Finally the penny is dropping and his performance in Cheltenham was something else.
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"Bryan is getting more confidence in him and knows when he gets daylight the turbo kicks in."
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Mullins also runs Valseur Lido, who was third behind another stable companion, the brilliant Vautour, in the JLT Novices' Chase at Cheltenham.
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He subsequently disappointed in the Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse and steps up to three miles for the first time.
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Mullins said: "I think Valseur Lido is crying out for a trip and we've nowhere else to go with him.
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"I'd like to try him (over three miles) and at least we'll know for next year."
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