Chacun Pour Soi begins a campaign connections hope will culminate with a belated tilt at the Queen Mother Champion Chase in Sunday’s Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase at Cork.
The Willie Mullins-trained eight-year-old was considered Ireland’s leading hope for last season’s Champion Chase after beating esteemed stable companion Min at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown in February.
However, while the French import travelled to Cheltenham, he had to be withdrawn on the morning of the race due to a stone bruise, while the coronavirus outbreak prevented him bidding for compensation at either Aintree or Punchestown.
Chacun Pour Soi will be all the rage to make a successful return in a race Mullins has already won 10 times, with Douvan and Un De Sceaux among the equine stars to feature on the recent roll of honour.
Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father, said: “Chacun Pour Soi is in great form at home. The Hilly Way has been a very lucky race for us and this looks an ideal opportunity to start his season.
“Hopefully all roads lead to the Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March.”
Chacun Pour Soi carries the familiar colours of Rich Ricci, who would surely love to provide Mullins with his very first Champion Chase success next spring.
Speaking on the Nick Luck Daily Podcast, Ricci’s racing manager Joe Chambers said: “The situation is he’s in very good form at home and worked very well on Tuesday.
“Last year he started off at Leopardstown at Christmas and it was pretty evident in his subsequent run at the Dublin Racing Festival that he had improved a lot fitness-wise for that. Willie is happy enough to let him take his chance under a penalty at Cork on Sunday.
“He’s obviously got a lot of ability, but it was a kick in the nether regions on the Wednesday morning of Cheltenham when Willie called to say he couldn’t run in the Queen Mother.
“I’d like to think he’s up being extremely competitive in a Champion Chase – I think he has demonstrated he has a bit of a ‘wow’ factor about him.
“We’d love to have a clear run with him and not be in any doubt where we stand.”
Chacun Pour Soi is joined by stable companion Cash Back in the Grade Two contest, while Gordon Elliott’s Grand Annual winner Chosen Mate and Darasso from Joseph O’Brien’s yard also feature in a seven-strong field.