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Quel Esprit

Age: 8

Trainer: Willie Mullins

A surprise inclusion perhaps in Willie Mullins' horses to follow, but Quel Esprit has shaped like he has the potential to land a big prize over fences if the Co. Carlow trainer can improve the grey gelding's jumping.

A smart novice hurdler that saw him win a Grade Three at Cork he then was well fancied going into the 2010 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, but fell at the second flight to dash Irish hopes.

Returning in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle two days later he finished a creditable sixth, but it would be over the larger obstacles that many thought he would excel.

Things started swimmingly as he proplled himself into the 2011 RSA Chase reckoning after breezing to victory on his chasing debut, but that's when things went downhill.

He firstly fell two from home in the PJ Moriarty Chase at Leopardstown when going like a winner and then his jumping troubles continued when he fell in the RSA Chase.  Looking a lively contender, jockey Paul Townend was propelled out the saddle three fences from home as he was just about to lay it down to the leaders.

He was then sent to the Punchestown Festival and his woes continued as he was brought down when sent of 7/4 favourite for the Growise Champion Novice Chase.

Throughout his races he oozes class, but it's the jumping that has let him down, but if Willie Mullins can somehow improving his ability over the obstacles then he could well be a very lively outsider for the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival and is certainly one to keep an eye on.

Potential Races for 2011/2012 Season

Cheltenham Gold Cup

Form for 2011/2012 Season

  • 12/11/11 - Become a Naas Annual Member Chase - Naas (1st of 4 - SP 8/13 Fav) - Willie Mullins would've been thrilled with Quel Esprit's jumping at Naas in this four runner affair as he managed to put in a clear round.  The Irish gelding oozes class, but has struggled to get round, but he was classy in this contest and comfortably bagged the prize by seven lengths to leave connections excited by the new season.
  • 07/12/11 - Beamish Stout Phil Sweeney Memorial Chase - Thurles (1st of 5 - SP 2/7 Fav) - Quel Esprit gained some more valuable experience over fences as he recorded a facile succes in a Grade Three Thurles contest.  Never really stretched in his 15-length victory, the eight-year-old showed no jumping mishaps, as he has done before, and couldn't have done it any easier.
  • 12/02/11 - Irish Hennessy Gold Cup - Leopardstown (1st of 7 - SP 5/4 Fav) - Yet another accomplished performance from Quel Esprit, as Mullins' grey comfortably bagged the Grade One Irish Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown.  He jumped soundly in the success and was instantly slashed for the Cheltenham Gold Cup where he is sure to be one of the leading Irish contenders.