Chacun Pour Soi seeks revenge on A Plus Tard in a fascinating renewal of the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase.
After making a huge impression with victory on his first two starts for Willie Mullins – including a Grade One triumph over Defi Du Seuil at last season’s Punchestown Festival – Chacun Pour Soi was widely expected to make a winning reappearance at Leopardstown last month.
But odds-on backers had their fingers burnt as the eight-year-old had to make do with the runner-up spot behind Henry de Bromhead’s Cheltenham Festival winner A Plus Tard – with just under four lengths separating the pair.
Bookmakers make Chacun Pour Soi a short price to reverse the form back at Leopardstown on Saturday – and Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father, is expecting considerable improvement.
He said: “We’ve had him for three years and he was very fragile – so when we went to the first day in Naas, we weren’t fully confident. We hadn’t trained him very hard, and he won by 31 lengths and was visually impressive in a beginners’ chase in March, but how strong was it?
“Obviously what he did in Punchestown was an extraordinary performance, but you can temper that with the (fact) other horses had had a hard season and he went there fresh.
“We were disappointed to be beaten at Christmas. I wouldn’t say his bubble has burst just yet, but he will have to win here if he is to live up to his reputation.”
Stable jockey Paul Townend has sided with Chacun Pour Soi over three other runners for the champion trainer.
Robbie Power takes the ride on Min, who is bidding to claim this prize for the third year in succession, while Danny Mullins is on board the progressive Hilly Way Chase winner Cilaos Emery.
The Closutton quartet is completed by last year’s Arkle Trophy winner Duc Des Genievres, the mount of Mark Walsh.
Mullins added: “Cilaos Emery has been a very fragile horse. He’s missed time here and there, but he beat Melon as a novice.
“He used to be very keen, and that was his downfall, but he’s settling much better now. We’e not quite sure how good he is.
“Min is the one they have to beat, because he’s the one who’s gone and done it. The other two are stepping up. I don’t envy Paul having to choose between them.”
De Bromhead should have a clearer idea after this weekend whether A Plus Tard should be aimed at the Queen Mother Champion Chase or the longer Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham in March.
He said: “He’s in great form and we’re looking forward to running him.
“He looked very good at Christmas. He put his head down and galloped to the line. It was our first Grade One winner for Cheveley Park Stud, and we were delighted.
“I always had him down as more of a two-and-a-half-mile horse, but some of those good horses can go any trip – Sizing Europe went from two to three miles.”
A Plus Tard is also joined by two stablemates in Ordinary World and Ornua, while Pat Fahy’s stable star Castlegrace Paddy completes the line-up.