Past Winners » Quel Esprit


So we have two intended runners (Quel Esprit and Bostons Angel), and we are on at good odds now, but one of them still has to go and win the race. I think that there is a good chance that one of them will. Quel Esprit has always been a highly talented horse. Always highly-regarded by Willie Mullins, he was a highly talented novice hurdler, he was sent off as the 5/1 second favourite in Peddlers Cross’s Neptune Hurdle – in front of Peddlers Cross – when he fell at the second flight, and he was turned out again two days later to run in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle, when he was sent off as second favourite again behind Tell Massini.

Last year’s campaign when sent over fences, his novice chasing year, was a bit of a disaster. He didn’t complete in three attempts after looking really good in beating the useful Torphichen on heavy ground at Limerick on his chasing bow. He fell in the Dr PJ Moriarty Chase at Leopardstown at the second last when travelling well, then he fell again at the third last when travelling well in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham, and he was brought down by a loose horse, again when travelling well, in the Grade 1 Champion Chase at the Punchestown Festival.

To put the regard in which he is held into context, he was sent off the 7/4 favourite for that race, while the winner Quito De La Roque, was sent off as a 7/2 shot.

Of course, it is no good being held in high regard if you don’t deliver, but this season has been much more like it for Quel Esprit. He has run twice and he has won twice, at Naas and at Limerick, jumping well and winning impressively on both occasions. Sunday’s race will be a different scenario completely, of course, and I still have a little bit of a worry about his stamina for a truly-run three miles on easy ground, but he has the latent talent to step up in grade now, Willie Mullins’s horses continue to zing along and the trainer has had Sunday’s race in mind for Quel Espit for some time.