Punters are in for a rare Monday treat thanks to the rearranged Hilly Way Chase. The Grade-2 is normally run over just over a trip in excess of 2-miles at Cork however, due to postponement, it has been rerouted to 12.35 Navan Monday for a select but competitive 5-runner race.
Amazingly the last 3 winners return in the shape of Days Hotel, Twinlight and Felix Yonger, and the latter two are both trained by the mighty Willie Mullins who has won 7 of the last 8 renewals, of which jockey Paul Townend has ridden 3.
Felix Yonger 11/8
Last year’s winner is officially the highest-rated horse on a mark of 160, and it looks significant that Paul Townend (rode Twinlight Last year) rides him instead of D E Mullins (rode him last year). He’s also won both his course starts and, as he’s won plenty of times over further, the heavy ground shouldn’t trouble him too much. Hard to beat.
The 2014 winner was pulled-up last year, and looked well below par on his last run last season, and his only run this season. No great surprise should he get involved, but the vibes suggest that Felix Yonger is very much the stable’s number 1 contender.
Hidden Cyclone 7/2
When he’s good he’s very good but his best form is on much better ground, such as when winning here earlier this season. Ran out of stamina last time when taking on the might Djakadam, and that might have left its mark.
Bright New Dawn 4/1
Has been well-backed on more than one occasion to win similar races to this, but has failed to win any of his last 10 races. He’s rated 12lb below the favourite, but does carry 6lb less than him, Twinlight and Hidden Cyclone.
Days Hotel 12/1
Finished 2nd on all 3 of his course starts and, despite winning this in 2013, his form is littered with similar placed finishes, including many behind the principals here. Probably needs all his rivals to underperform to notch his second Hilly Way as he approaches his 11th birthday.
With Willie Mullins having won 7 of the last 8 renewals, it seems likely that this race has long been on the agenda of both Felix Yonger and Twinlight. I was tempted to tip the reverse forecast but, as there’s a doubt over Twinlight, Felix Yonger looks a fair bet at 11/8.
Felix Yonger @ 11/8 (Various)