Willie Mullins warns Facile Vega in a race against time to make Cheltenham Festival after ‘headless’ DRF horror show

WILLIE MULLINS has warned Facile Vega needs ‘all the time we have’ to recover from his ‘headless’ Dublin Racing Festival horror show.

The apple of Mullins’ eye hit 5-1 for the Supreme after being odds-on for the Cheltenham Festival opener.

Mullins says the Supreme is still the plan for Facile Vega – but adds the horse is in a race against time to find full fitness for the Festival openerSportsfile

Massive upset!

Facile Vega, white-hot Supreme Novices’ Hurdle favourite, finishes last behind stablemate Il Etait Temps in the @tatts_ireland Novice Hurdle.

Another big @LeopardstownRC triumph for @dan2231 @WillieMullinsNH | #DublinRacingFestival pic.twitter.com/9dOrBDn93Z

— Racing TV (@RacingTV) February 5, 2023

Jockey Paul Townend finished last as the star novice hurdler tasted his first ever defeat.

Facile Vega and High Definition set a breathless pace in the Grade 1 Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle.

Mullins blasted his No1 jockey Townend for riding Facile Vega ‘like a machine’ in the 2m Leopardstown contest won by 14-1 Il Etait Temps.

And now he says the horse will have to show full signs of recovery to even make the Festival in five weeks.

Speaking of the horse punters have piled into ante-post bets for months, Mullins said: “At Christmas (when Facile Vega beat Il Etait Temps in the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle) he took off with Paul down the back straight but he still managed to find his second wind and win impressively.

“So yesterday I thought after they jumped two hurdles that he was going to have to be an absolute aeroplane to win because they went so quick in front.


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“He was a bit like a steam train and Paul just couldn’t pull him up. He is going to need to ride him like a racehorse and not a machine next time.

“What happened with Lossiemouth on Saturday, when he was stuck behind a dodgy jumper, I think that was in Paul’s head on Facile Vega which is why he tried to make all.

“The time they clocked going to the fourth hurdle was a nearly a furlong faster than the Champion Hurdle. It was headless.

“I think so (still all systems go for the Supreme). At the moment we are set to go the way we planned, if the horse recovers from his race.

“It will take a fair bit of recovering because it was a tough race and we are going to need all the time we have.”

Royal Bond winner Marine Nationale remains the 7-2 fav for the Supreme, with Facile Vega second fav at 5-1.

The hugely impressive Gaelic Warrior is a best-price 6-1 for the curtain raiser, with Il Etait Temps 6-1.


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