A fascinating novices’ chase will take place at Naas in Ireland on Sunday when champion trainer Willie Mullins pits former British pointers Blackbow and Energumene against each other.
They complete a field of six for the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Chase over two miles. Mullins’ no.1 jockey Paul Townend has elected to ride Energumene while David Mullins partners Blackbow (pictured above at Maisemore Park).
Both horses began their careers in Herefordshire from the stables of Sophie Lacey – Blackbow, who recently turned eight, won a maiden point-to-point at Maisemore Park in March 2017, beating the smart chaser Canelo, while Energumene, who is now a seven-year-old, scored at Larkhill – both horses were ridden in those first races by Tommie O’Brien.
Energumene has since won three of four races for Mullins, and ran out an impressive winner at Gowran in November when making his chasing debut. In the same month Blackbow won at Navan, but then fell in a Gr.1 chase at Leopardstown on Boxing Day.
The Racing Post’s betting forecast suggests Energumene will go off the 13/8 favourite, 2/1 the Henry De Bromhead-trained Captain Guinness, with Blackbow a 9/4 shot.