Cabaret Queen heads Willie Mullins’ three possible contenders for this month’s Ladbrokes Trophy.
Wide-margin Munster National winner Cabaret Queen appears to be the multiple Irish champion trainer’s chief hope of winning the famous Newbury handicap for the second time in three years.
He describes Yorkhill as “one of the most frustrating horses we’ve ever had” – but that will all be forgotten should the nine-year-old belie his current ante-post odds of 33-1 by finally realising his once huge potential.
Pleasant Company, runner-up in last year’s Grand National at Aintree but largely out of form in just four outings since, completes the trio of Mullins possibles.
He said: “We have left in Cabaret Queen, Yorkhill and Pleasant Company.
“The plan is for Cabaret Queen to run. She got a fair hike after winning well at Limerick but will take her chance.”
That success came at just the mare’s second attempt since switching to Mullins from Dan Skelton’s Warwickshire yard, and she has gone up more than a stone in the ratings in recognition of her improved performance.
By contrast, long-term Closutton resident Yorkhill currently loiters well below his peak chase rating of 2017 – having won just one of his last 13 races and revealed alarming tendencies to pull away his chances and jump violently to his left at times.
Mullins said: “Yorkhill must be one of the most frustrating horses we’ve ever had.
“He’s got so much ability but is very hard on himself. He’s bred to want more than three miles – but the way he races he just doesn’t give himself a chance to settle.”
Even so, Mullins hopes this staying test may bring about a resurgence from the nine-year-old, adding: “He’s come down a bit in the handicap – which helps – and he needs to go left-handed, so Newbury suits on that front.”