El Fabiolo Dominates Bar One Racing Hilly Way Chase at Cork
In a predictably dominant fashion, El Fabiolo kicked off the new campaign with an outstanding performance in the Bar One Racing Hilly Way Chase at Cork. Trained by Willie Mullins and boasting an unbeaten record as a novice over fences last season, this six-year-old has once again proved his prowess on the track.
Last season, El Fabiolo triumphed over Jonbon in the Arkle at Cheltenham, showcasing his brilliance as a young chaser. With Jonbon recently securing victory in the Tingle Creek at Sandown, all eyes were on El Fabiolo to see if he could match his rival’s form.
Mullins has had remarkable success in the Hilly Way Chase over the years, having trained nine of the last ten winners. Among his previous champions are Un De Sceaux and Energumene. Therefore, it came as no surprise that El Fabiolo was heavily favored to join this prestigious list.
Under jockey Paul Townend’s guidance, El Fabiolo settled well behind the leading horses throughout the extended two-mile contest. Taking control four fences from home, he effortlessly pulled away from Fil Dor who desperately tried to keep up.
Although there was a slight stumble after jumping the final obstacle, El Fabiolo never looked like faltering and comfortably secured victory by four and three-quarter lengths.
Betfair and Paddy Power have maintained their odds for him winning next year’s Champion Chase at Cheltenham Festival unchanged at 10-11. His main competition is expected to come from Jonbon with odds of 5-2.
Commenting on El Fabiolo’s performance, trainer Willie Mullins expressed his initial concerns due to the underwhelming performances of his other runners on the day. However, El Fabiolo delivered and got the job done.
Mullins noted that El Fabiolo was a bit keen in the early stages of the race but settled well as they progressed. He praised jockey Paul Townend for keeping him relaxed and not letting him run too freely.
Considering future plans, Mullins hinted at a potential clash between El Fabiolo and Jonbon before Cheltenham Festival. A trip across the Irish Sea could be on the cards for El Fabiolo, with Ascot’s Clarence House in January being a likely target.
Providing an update on Energumene, who is currently sidelined, Mullins mentioned that he is doing well despite missing this season. There is hope that he will return to action at some stage in the future.