Vroum Vroum Mag won the Grade 2 Mares’ Novices’ Chase (14:40) in 2015 for Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci, and it would be no surprise if they’re high-fiving each other in the Thurles winners enclosure again this Sunday, as they team up with Camelia de Cotte.
It hasn’t taken the mare long to transform into a much better chaser than hurdler, winning four of her five starts over fences, and she should have even more to offer, too. Ex-stablemate Meri Deve, who is now with Paul Nolan, will likely pose the main danger.
She has always possessed plenty of ability and, much like the Manchester United players, she’s perked up since a new gaffer took over the reins, winning a maiden chase by 13 lengths at Navan earlier this month. She has the physique for chasing and should have more to offer.
It’s unlikely that Total Recall will ever stay in the Horse & Jockey Hotel, but he can pick up the sponsor’s prize money at 14:10. He’s 10 lb clear of stablemate Invitation Only on weight-adjusted Timeform ratings and, having shaped with plenty of promise when second to the well-regarded Al Boum Photo on his return at Tramore this month, he should be cherry ripe for this.
This race has been won by some top-class types in the past, notably subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Don Cossack and Sizing John and, while the Gold Cup is unlikely to be the top of Total Recall’s priorities, he is still a high-class performer on his day and is expected to resume winning ways. The improving Tout Est Permis, who made it two from two for Noel Meade at Navan in November, should prove the biggest danger.
Over in England, there is also a good card at Exeter on Sunday, and Printing Dollars should prove a tough nut to crack in the 14:50. Rather than printing dollars, owner Robert Waley-Cohen does a lot of spending pounds in his spare time, and he had to fork out £60,000 to acquire the horse after her win in an Irish point.
She has made a bright start to her career under Rules, winning a bumper on debut and filling the runner-up spot on both of her starts over hurdles. This step up to three miles for the first time is likely to unlock further improvement, and it will be disappointing if she isn’t able to open her account over hurdles here.
On the same card, the in-form Venetia Williams could have yet another winner with Yalltari in the 15:25. He’s as likeable as Harry Redknapp (when he’s not getting hit by a ball during interviews – “no wonder he’s in the f***ing reserves”) and has taken particularly well to chasing, building on his chasing debut when winning a handicap at Chepstow last month, jumping impeccably and looking in full control after five out. His advantage was reduced at the last, but he was merely nudged out to score and very much looks the one to beat now running in a novice for the first time.
Thurles 14.40 – Camelia de Cotte @ 4/5
Thurles 14.10 – Total Recall @ 2/1
Exeter 14.50 – Printing Dollars @ 8/13
Exeter 15.25 – Yalltari @ 6/5
*All prices correct at time of posting