Mystical Power can open the Cheltenham floodgates for Willie Mullins

Willie Mullins will winthe Champion Hurdle, with the classy State Man (Picture: Getty Images)

It doesn’t take a clairvoyant to predict Willie Mullins is going to have multiple winners at this week’s Cheltenham Festival.

The County Carlow trainer saddles the two market leaders in the meeting’s opening race, the Supreme Novices Hurdle, with Tullyhill 3/1 across the board after winning on soft ground at Naas and on heavy going at Punchestown since the turn of the year.

However, second string Mystical Power is the Mullins runner to follow. The first foal of Champion Hurdle winner and Festival favourite Annie Power was an impressive seven-length winner at Punchestown in January and can storm to victory at 7/2 with Ladbrokes, Coral, William Hill and many others.

Mullins, who need six winners to reach 100 victories at the blue-riband meeting, can take another huge step towards the remarkable milestone when Gaelic Warrior cuts down the opposition in the Arkle. 

Triumphant in four hurdle races and two chases, he unseated his rider last time out at Leopardstown but with a bit of good fortune can triumph at 7/2 with the same firms, especially as the mudlark won’t be inconvenienced by the further rain expected to fall on Prestbury Park.

Kim Bailey’s Trelawne can be the first winner from these shores in the Ultima with jockey Harry Cobden making sure he makes the most of the step up in trip and he’s each-way value at 8/1 with bet365.

The big race of the day is the Champions Hurdle and State Man will profit with last year’s winner Constitution Hill not defending his crown. Another Mullins hotpot, he’s short at 4/11 with Unibet but is the banker on the seven-race card and can be put in a double with stablemate Lossiemouth – the widespread 4/6 favourite for the Mares’ Hurdle. It’s also worth having an each-way interest on Telmesomethinggirl for the Henry De Bromhead/Rachael Blackmore partnership in this one at 18/1 with bet365.

Milan Tino has the advantage of experience round the course and is the choice for the Juvenile Handicap at a general 6/1 and Gordon Elliot’s Salvador Ziggy can take the lucky last. Second on soft ground in last year’s Pertemps, he has been laid out for the National Hunt Challenge Cup and appeals at 11/2 with Betway, Paddy Power, Betfair and a few more besides.

• Arsenal have won their last eight Premier League matches to storm to the top of the table. But hidden away in that amazing run was a 1-0 defeat at Porto in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 affair.

The Gunners are odds-on to win the second leg at the Emirates but it could be close and the visitors are definitely worth a punt with a two-goal start in the handicap market at 6/5 with Sky Bet. Bukayo Saka is 9/2 with Paddy Power and Betfair to open the scoring and 29/20 with BetUK and Unibet to feature on the scoresheet while a 2-1 home win is 9/1 with William Hill.

• Middlesbrough, Doncaster, Crawley and Crewe form Tuesday’s Football League acca.


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