Leading Triumph Hurdle fancy French Aseel set to join Willie Mullins

By Johnny Ward
Tue 5 Jan 2021

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Hugely exciting juvenile hurdler French Aseel has been bought by Al Boum Photo's owner, Joe Donnelly, and is set to join Willie Mullins, Racing TV can reveal.

The French import, who had won once on the Flat, produced an extraordinary performance on his Irish and hurdling debut for trainer Ellmarie Holden at Christmas, scoring by 22 lengths under Denis O'Regan against 17 rivals at Leopardstown in a maiden hurdle.

There was considerable speculation after the gambled-on 7-2 favourite's success that he might be sold, and Donnelly has swooped for the general 8-1 second-favourite for the JCB Triumph Hurdle.

Mullins told Racing TV: "He's joining us. He is a very promising looking horse.

"He was a professional racehorse on Flat. You'd be delighted with the way he jumped at Leopardstown. He was a lovely purchase be Ellmarie."

French Aseel was hugely impressive at Leopardstown last time out

After the race at Leopardstown, winning owner, and father of the successful trainer, Paul Holden revealed: "We bought him in Arqana (for €62,000) in July. We knew he had ability and he also handled soft ground in France."

Mullins was also full of praise for Al Boum Photo after his rampant performance on his return to action at Tramore on New Year's Day. The general 7-2 favourite for the Gold Cup scored by 19 lengths from his stablemate Acapella Bourgeois, winning that race for the third year running and bidding to do the same at Cheltenham in two months' time.

"I was delighted. I analysed it afterwards and it was actually a two-mile pace run on heavy ground; the horse who set out to make the running and to get some prize-money (Djingle) wasn't even able to finish the race. That's how sharp the gallop was.

"He beat a horse of ours rated 155 by 19 lengths and not many horses did anything like that over the Christmas. I love the way he jumped the two fences by the stands. He was maybe lethargic going downhill but once he joined Acapella Bourgeois he was full of enthusiasm and knew the job had to be done."

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