Willie Mullins boasts another plethora of exciting horses entering the 2021/2022 National Hunt season and two of his best are scheduled to be on a collision course throughout the campaign. Sir Gerhard transferred into Mullins’ yard from Gordon Elliott after the latter was involved in a scandal.
The Irish thoroughbred was an elite horse under Elliott and has continued his rise under the tenure of Mullins. Mullins already had a strong contender at the fledgling level with the outstanding thoroughbred Kilcruit in his ranks. The two rival horses were now stable-mates, but enjoyed a fierce battle towards the end of the last term.
Sir Gerhard took the early initiative in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham Festival before Kilcruit fought back to end the season with a win at Punchestown. The two Mullins horses are the leading contenders in the odds on betting on horse racing with Paddy Power for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, although a lot can change during the season.
Therefore, tracking the latest horse racing news before placing a bet on either charge would be a sound idea, even though a return could be made with an ante-post wager. Sir Gerhard is the favorite ahead of his stable-mate, but the lasting impression from the 2020/21 season was Kilcruit’s late surge to beat out his rival at Punchestown.
There are elements of the unknown heading into the season, and it will be illuminating to see how the two Mullins horses cope with the challenges of hurdles. Both have the pace over the flat as indicated by their victories in the last campaign. Sir Gerhard was excellent at Cheltenham as Rachael Blackmore in the saddle made a move down the stretch, and he was able to close out a narrow victory ahead of Kilcruit.
However, in their meeting at Punchestown, Kilcruit was able to turn the tables with a dominant run to earn a semblance of revenge. Sir Gerhard was unable to match his pace and finished in third, six-and-a-half lengths behind his stable-mate.
KILCRUIT 🐎 wins The Grade 1 Bumper under Derek O’Connor 🏇🏻for Willie Mullins at Punchestown🏆🇮🇪
🚨HBA MEDIA “ONES TO WATCH” TRIFECTA 🚨@punchestownrace #winner #gradeonebumper #kilcruit @DerekOConnor82 @WillieMullinsNH #thoroughbred #horseracing pic.twitter.com/NiaDKzWPOh
— HBA Media (@_HBAMedia) April 28, 2021
Mullins will now be preparing both horses for the challenges ahead by entering them into maiden hurdle events around Ireland and the United Kingdom. The Irishman might put his two charges on the same path as his previous winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Appreciate It.
He competed three times in the early stages of the National Hunt season, including two appearances at Leopardstown where he won the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle and the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle before triumphing at Cheltenham Festival.
Sir Gerhard and Kilcruit on the same schedule will guarantee success at Cheltenham in March 2022. However, they are certainly horses with outstanding potential. Given the pedigree of the two charges, Mullins may even be tempted to split them into two different races to increase his chances of success.
One may compete in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the other the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. It will be a big decision, but Mullins more often than not makes the correct call.