Champion Irish jumps trainer Willie Mullins has dominated two feature meetings with his team gearing up for the Cheltenham festival.
With just over seven weeks to Cheltenham, Mullins plundered two big prizes at Ascot on Saturday with Un De Sceaux and Vroum Vroum Mag and then yielded a four-timer at Leopardstown that included big-race triumphs with Douvan and Faugheen.
Mullins, the trainer of Melbourne Cup runner-up Max Dynamite, sent out a record eight winners at Cheltenham last year and is now at even money to take the British jumps title from Paul Nicholls.
Un De Sceaux was the star of the show at Ascot as he atoned for a blip at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting in style to reinforce his claims for the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
“I am probably happy at leaving it at that. There is nothing that comes to mind (before Cheltenham),” Mullins said.
Just as at Warwick the previous Saturday, Mullins was in double-winning form with Vroum Vroum Mag bagging the Mares’ Hurdle.
Her target at Cheltenham is as yet undecided and she and Annie Power are both in line for the Mares’ Hurdle and World Hurdle.
There was no stopping Mullins at Leopardstown where his four wins included the two Grade One races.
Faugheen showed he was in no mood to give up his Stan James Champion Hurdle crown as he swept aside stablemates Arctic Fire and Nichols Canyon in the Irish Champion Hurdle.
“That was a fantastic performance from Faugheen, one of his best, if not the best,” Mullins said.
“It was an electrifying performance and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him jump so well.”
Douvan rubber-stamped his Racing Post Arkle Trophy credentials with an impressive display to take the Irish version at odds of 1-14.
“You are seeing now what he shows me every day at home,” the trainer said.
“We don’t know how good he is. He could be anything.”