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Cheltenham Festival: Don Poli will have Chase rivals on the run

By Staff Reporter

Willie Mullins believes Don Poli's laid-back temperament is perfect for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham today.

Winner of the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle at last year's Festival, Don Poli has made the transition to chaser in some style.

After beating Wounded Warrior on his fencing bow at Gowran in November, he defeated Apache Stronghold by three lengths in the Grade One Topaz Novice Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas on his only subsequent start.

"Don Poli can go out in trip no trouble - he just runs and runs. He stays, runs and jumps," said Mullins.

"I think he was nicely handicapped last year and got a great ride from Mikey Fogarty. Because he's so lazy, he didn't show off his ability to the handicapper, but every grade he steps up, he's able to step up.

"He's hugely lazy and that's his forte. He only gets going in the latter stages of those long races."

Mullins also saddles Adriana Des Mottes, but has taken out his three other entries at the five-day stage - Valseur Lido, Vautour and Vroum Vroum Mag.

Kings Palace is the main hope of the home contingent and has the advantage of his first two victories over fences coming on this course.

The David Pipe-trained seven-year-old stretched his 100 per cent record over the bigger obstacles to three when just beating solitary rival Vivaldi Collonges by a length at Newbury.

"Don Poli looks the main threat, but we'll give it our best shot," said Harry Drew, son of part-owner Bryan Drew.

"There are a lot of good horses like The Young Master, but hopefully we can do them. You have to put that run at Newbury to one side and look at his form at Cheltenham. It's been flawless."

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