Mystical Power has and always will have big boots to fill. A son of the generational stallion Galileo and the ever popular Champion Hurdler Annie Power is a recipe for pure class but it isn’t always that simple.
Given his illustrious parents, the five-year-old gelding has peaked interest for all three of his runs so far, but last Sunday, the first real test of his mettle came in the Grade 2 SkyBet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle and he passed that with flying colours.
On his first run since his debut over hurdles at the Galway Summer Festival, the J.P. McManus-owned, Willie Mullins-trained gelding put his three rivals to the sword in impressive fashion, moving up from his held up position before the straight before streaking clear for a nine-length score.
The performance caught the eye of many not least bookmakers, who have installed him as the new 4/1 favourite for the Cheltenham Festival curtain-rasier, the Supreme Novice Hurdle.
“I was very impressed with him, he wouldn’t show that at home and seems to save his best for the track, which is a great trait,” said assistant to Mullins, David Casey. “Mark rode him a couple of weeks ago and thought he had improved hugely from when he had ridden him earlier in the year - he showed that today.”
While classy National Hunt mares sometimes fail to pass on their quality, with the improved racing programme making it more attractive for owners to buy and race mares, the sample size of top quality mares going to the breeding sheds is getting bigger and we may be starting to see a new dimension to jumps racing.
Quevega is a fine example, with her son Facile Vega already emulating his dam by winning at the Cheltenham Festival, while Apple’s Jade, another mare who achieved so much on the track, is set to have her first runner next year. Given the popularity of these mares – in a few years there will be much hype about Honeysuckle’s first born hitting the track – it is exciting for an already devout following of National Hunt racing.