Cheltenham Festival: Definitly Red targets a top-four finish in Gold Cup

TIPS | Willie Mullins tips his horses with a chance in this week's Cheltenham Festival

Willie Mullins

"I thought maybe I'm not going to be lucky".

Joseph O'Brien's first official Cheltenham victor (he is widely credited with the handling of 2016 Triumph Hurdle victor Ivanovich Gorbatov under his father Aidan's licence) came on Wednesday evening when Band Of Outlaws justified favouritism in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle for owner Justin Carthy.

"It feels great", Mullins, who had trained six runners-up in the race, told ITV Sport.

Gambling Insider understands Sky Bet lost around £3m ($3.9m) on the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, the first race of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday, which was won by Willie Mullins' Klassical Dream at 6/1. So I probably had all my disappointment out of me early in the race. "I've had a fantastic life in racing with fantastic staff and fantastic owners, so this is really the icing on the cake as I never expected to win this race". I know Paul's body language and I knew entering the home straight that Paul had not gone for anything.

"I suppose Al Boum Photo was my third or fourth choice but I knew that he would go on the ground and we always thought that he would stay".

Last year's epic duel between Native River and Might Bite, both of whom are back in the field today, was particularly unforgettable, but it played out on the worst Festival ground for many years and their rivals found it impossible to make ground once Richard Johnson and Nico de Bonville had taken control up front. She just got into a little bit of trouble before the last and I was hoping he might come.

"Really good credit to Paul and I am delighted for (owner) Marie and Joe Donnelly, who have put some commitment into our yard".

Sixteen are due to go to post in all at 3.30 and the make-up of the race is slightly odd in that the three trainers who have dominated recent Festivals can not muster a runner at below 10-1 between them.

He has been unfortunate to clash with the excellent Apple's Jade twice so far this season, while his second to Sharjah over two miles at Christmas perhaps shows he is not quite sharp enough for the minimum trip now. Every time he needed a squeeze, Paul was there to give him one and the horse responded. However, Mullins was hopeful of a good performance from the gelding and he expressed his delight at finally landing Jump racing's Blue Riband event.

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