A ‘50-50’ CHANCE THAT LIMINI WILL GO IN CHAMPION
IT’S becoming increasingly likely that classy mare Limini will be supplemented to the Stan James Champion Hurdle.
Winner of the mares novice hurdle at the Festival last year, Limini made an impressive return to action when turning over Apple’s Jade at Punchestown last Wednesday. And speaking in Closutton yesterday at the pre-festival press day, her trainer Willie Mullins indicated that he might encourage Rich Ricci to stump up the £20,000 to supplement the mare next Wednesday, March 8. So she could attempt to emulate stablemate Annie Power, successful last year when supplemented. Although he suggested that it was ‘50-50‘ about Limini, he explained: “Vroum Vroum Mag was brewing something when she ran in Doncaster, but I’m a lot happier with her now. “If she’s fine and sparkling, she’ll go for the Mares Hurdle. And, in that case, we’ll let Limini take her chance in the Champion Hurdle.” Footpad, runner-up to Petit Mouchoir in the Irish Champion Hurdler and last year’s County Hurdle winner Wicklow Brave are also on course for the Champion. It has been a difficult season for Mullins. But he remains upbeat about Cheltenham, where Douvan and Djakadam will be his big hopes in the chasing showpieces. Douvan is red-hot favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase and Mullins added: “He could be the best horse I’ve ever had, but he still has a long way to go to match Hurricane Fly’s achievements. “Expectations are high for him – the bar keeps rising and he keeps meeting it.” And he believes that Djakadam, runner-up in the last two Golds Cups - as a six-year-old in 2015 and after an interrupted preparation last year - is primed to run the race of his life on St. Patrick’s Day. Mullins said: “We’ve had a clear run with him this year and I’m happy where we are. “He’s a more mature horse this year and should be reaching his prime. Hopefully, the ball might bounce our way this time.”
LEADING LIGHT Mare Limini and her groom Rachael Robbins at Closutton press day yesterday