Horses To Follow » Chapeau De Soleil

Chapeau De Soleil

Chapeau De Soleil was impressive in winning his maiden hurdle over two miles and three furlongs at Clonmel last Thursday. Sent to the front from flagfall by Patrick Mullins, his jumping was fluent in the main. He did hit the fourth flight, and he was a little awkward at the second last, but he was very good in general, and he stayed on strongly to win well in a time that was almost 29 seconds faster than the time that Kitsilano clocked in winning the handicap hurdle later on the day.

This was much more like it from Willie Mullins’ horse. Winner of his only point-to-point for Colin Bowe, he was sent off at odds-on for his first bumper, at the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle meeting at Fairyhouse last year, but he hung badly to his left around the home turn and threw his chance away. In the circumstances, he did well to keep on as well as he did, once switched to the near side in the home straight, to take second place behind the talented Better Days Ahead. He still went to Cheltenham last March, they still thought enough of him to let him go to the Festival, where he didn’t run badly in the Champion Bumper.

This is a race in which Willie Mullins has run several high-class horses in the past, including Castlebawn West, Saint Roi and Capodanno. It is interesting that Patrick Mullins said after Thursday’s race that he thought that Chapeau De Soleil could have been his Champion Bumper horse at one stage last season. That is a measure of the regard in which he was held then. There was no sign of him going out to his left at Clonmel, and he could be on track now to fulfill his significant potential over hurdles. From the family of Many Clouds, he could step out in trip now too.

Clonmel, 7th December 2023