WILLIE Mullins’ star novice chaser ‘Monkfish’ strengthened his position at the head of the ante-post market for the Festival Novices’ Chase (formerly the RSA) at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, when running away with the Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown.
The imposing son of ‘Stowaway’ produced a stunning round of jumping in the hands of Paul Townend to make it three from three over fences and, in the process, marked himself down as one of the most exciting novice chasers in training, alongside fellow Tattersalls Cheltenham graduates ‘Envoi Allen’ and ‘Shishkin’.
The winner of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, he was purchased as a store for €36,000 by Cormac Doyle at the 2017 Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale from Busher Bloodstock.
After winning his point to point in impressive style, he was sold by the handler for £235,000 at the 2018 Cheltenham May Sale to Harold Kirk and Willie Mullins.
At Sandown Park on Saturday, February 6, ‘Sporting John’ bounced back to form in fine style, when powering clear on the run in to win the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase for Philip Hobbs and J P McManus. He now looks set to head to the Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
The son of ‘Getaway’ was sold by Matthew Flynn O’Connor’s Ballycrystal Stables for £160,000 at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival Sale to Kieran McManus.
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