Willie Mullins admits Chacun Pour Soi completing a Closutton clean sweep of Cheltenham’s Championship races would surpass even his
wildest Cotswolds dreams, writes Will Jennings.
The 72-time Prestbury Park winner has claimed victories in the Gold Cup, Stayers’ Hurdle, Ryanair Chase and Gold Cup across a glittering career – but never the prestigious Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Chacun Pour Soi has scored in four Grade 1s out of five since 2019 and Mullins, whose star was scratched from last year’s race after suffering an abscess in his foot, says a maiden Champion Chase triumph would cap a true Cheltenham fairytale.
The 64-year-old said: “It would be huge for the stable and everyone here to get that [Champion Chase] win and have all the Championship races at the Cheltenham Festival.
“When we started off, we just wanted a runner and then a winner, not dreaming we could be in the position we’re in today, but it’s something we’ve been lucky with and I’d love to do it.
“Hopefully he will give us a chance to try and put that away. He’s in great form since Leopardstown and does everything right at home, so fingers crossed.
“It hurts, but at Cheltenham, every 35 minutes it’s a new page and you don’t really get to think about it or for it to sink in and thankfully we had a good Cheltenham last year so it’s history.
“It’s different if you had one horse, you would probably wallow in it, but as I said to the lads ‘just put it behind us and get on to the next race’.
“We want to get there and see what he can do at Cheltenham can he be as good as Leopardstown. He is one of the ones if you had to pick the top five or six travelling over, you’d say he is one that you are really hoping can bring his ‘A’ game there.”
Ridden by partner in crime Paul Townend, Chacun Pour Soi landed the Paddy's Rewards Club Chase over Christmas before following that up in style in February’s Dublin Chase.
He toppled Joseph O’Brien’s Fakir D'oudairies by a thumping eight lengths to defend his 2020 crown and be slashed in the betting for the Champion Chase.
Nicky Henderson’s two-time Champion Chase hero Altior looks set to challenge Chacun Pour Soi in the Wednesday Festival showpiece, while Politologue and Nube Negra also pose a threat.
Elsewhere, Chacun Pour Soi’s stablemate Sharjah will bid to avenge last year’s Champion Hurdle defeat against Epatante in the same race next month.
Sharjah soared to Matheson Hurdle victory at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival and Mullins, whose mount could only finish third in the Irish Champion Hurdle this month, added: “I’m happy with him and maybe that race [Irish Champion Hurdle] just comes
too soon for him after Christmas. It’s funny he’s done that twice.
“Patrick has his own way of riding him, he likes to sit and wait and he’ll probably do that. The better the ground the better the chance and if he can adjust his tactics a bit, it might make the difference.”