Footpad expected to be top-rank in Mullins team

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Connections of Footpad are confident that he will prove himself to be amongst the best novice chasers in the Willie Mullins yard this season.

Fourth in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, Footpad routinely found himself down the pecking order at Closutton over timber, given the sheer depth of talent Ireland’s champion trainer possesses.

The five-year-old made the perfect start to his chasing career on Sunday with an 11-length win at Navan in the hands of Daryl Jacob, regular rider for Footpad’s owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.

While Jacob was up on Sunday, Anthony Bromley, racing manager for the owners, expects that Mullins’ stable jockey Ruby Walsh may be the man on board more often than not this term.

“It will be up to Willie (where he goes), but I imagine he will be campaigned between two and two and a half miles and then see where we go. It will fit around with what else he has got.

“I was pleased Daryl (Jacob) got the chance to ride him as he rode him in most races last season as he was always the second or third string in the Grade Ones in the Mullins yard. When Ruby (Walsh) had a sore hand, it was nice Daryl could go and ride him.

“Whether he will get back on him is another thing as I imagine he will be first choice in that division now.”

Footpad is a 12/1 chance to win the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham in March and Bromley anticipates he’ll be campaigned exclusively in Ireland before then.

“He will stay in Ireland until March I imagine, as that is Willie’s normal style. He will be entered in races over two and two and half and we will see what his other horses are doing. He is a very exciting horse.”

Alan King’s Yanworth is 15/2 for the JLT having escaped none the worse for a fall on his second chase start at Exeter on Tuesday while Finian’s Oscar is a 15/2 to land the Festival contest for trainer Colin Tizzard.

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