Mullins assembling formidable Champion Bumper squad | Racing News

The pecking order of Willie Mullins’ Champion Bumper horses may still be determined, but Closutton’s Trainer Battalion is definitely taking on its usual formidable form.

Mullins has won the Cheltenham Champion Bumper a record 11 times since 1996, including the last two renewals with Ferny Hollow and Sir Gerhard.

And with four outstanding winners over as many days over Christmas, there are high hopes that at least three of them will line up in the Weatherbys-sponsored championship event at Prestbury Park on Wednesday 11 March.

The progression is anticipated by Facile Vega, which successfully debuted in Leopardstown on Sunday, and Embassy Gardens and Redemption Day, which did the same Monday and Tuesday, on the same route and distance.

Patrick Mullins, his father’s assistant, said, “The good guy (winner Wednesday) is going to jump. The other three could all be Champion Bumper horses.”

Embassy Gardens, a son of Shantou, is owned by Sean and Bernardine Mulryan and is an overall 20-1 chance for Champion Bumper after his nose-up hit.

“Obviously Embassy Gardens will probably need to improve, but of the three I think it’s the one that will improve the most,” added Mullins.

Tim O’Driscoll-owned Redemption Day was installed as the 6-1 third favorite for Champion Bumper by Paddy Power after his triumph of four and a half lengths.

Yet arguably the most visually impressive quartet of winners from the Mullins yard was Easy Vega, owned by Hammer & Trowel Syndicate, who pulled off an impressive six-length winner.

Walk In The Park’s son is out of Mares Quevega’s six-time Hardle winner and is Cheltenham’s second favorite 4-1 with Paddy Power, behind American Mike coached by Gordon Elliott (11-4).

Mullins said, “Redemption Day is probably the fastest and Easy Vega is tallest and probably has the most range, so we all have different shapes and sizes.

“There are some tough decisions to make, but it’s a good position to be in.”

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