Willie Mullins reveals his True Self in quest to land a second Ebor

WILLIE Mullins seeks a second win in the Sky Bet Ebor Handicap when he saddles True Self in the York feature.

Willie Mullins - one of National Hunt racing's most dominant trainers - seeks a second Ebor win today.
Willie Mullins - one of National Hunt racing's most dominant trainers - seeks a second Ebor win today.

Ireland’s champion National Hunt trainer, victorious in the last two Cheltenham Gold Cups with Al Boum Photo, struck in the 2009 renewal with the mare Sesenta.

Mullins’s representative this year was beaten only three lengths into sixth place 12 months ago, before going on a round-the-world tour – which included trips to Australia, where she won a Group Three, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia.

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Since returning to Ireland, True Self has finished a creditable fourth behind the top-class Magical in the Tattersalls Gold Cup and a slightly disappointing sixth in the Munster Oaks at Cork.

Willie Mullins and jockey Paul Townend celebrate Al Boum Photo's second successive Cheltenham Gold Cup win.

However, 10lb lower than 12 months ago, the seven-year-old is expected to put up a bold showing on her return to the Knavesmire, where she will be ridden by Jason Watson.

Mullins’s assistant David Casey said: “Hopefully she’ll run well. She ran well in the race last year when things didn’t really go her way during the race, and she seems in very good form at home.

“She ran a good race in the Group One behind Magical, and Cork probably came a bit quick after that. If she brings her A-game, she should run a big race.”

True Self is one of two Irish challengers, along with Joseph O’Brien’s Pondus. The raiding party is bidding to win the race for a fourth time in the last seven years following Mutual Regard (2014), Heartbreak City (2016) and Mustajeer (2019).

True Self is a leading contender for the Ebor today.

Other leading contenders include Roger Varian’s Fujaira Prince, Peter Chapple-Hyam’s Deja and the William Haggas-trained pair of Pablo Escobarr and Monica Sheriff.

Meanwhile, Safe Voyage bids to get back to winning ways in a “spicy” renewal of the Sky Bet City of York Stakes.

The seven-year-old provided trainer John Quinn with his landmark 1,00th winner when winning at Epsom on Derby day under jockey Jason Hart before finishing a close-up fourth in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood last time out.

He met trouble in running there and Quinn is hopeful of a return to winning ways. “This looks like the right race for him – in saying that, it’s a spicy affair,” he said.

Three-time Grand National-winning owner Trevor Hemmings has announced he is scaling down the size of his string after 36 years in the sport.

Hemmings, 85, is one of National Hunt racing’s most successful owners, with his yellow, green and white colours a familiar sight on the racecourse.

However, he has decided to reduce the number of horses he has in training – and around 50 will be sold at the Goffs UK September Sale.

The impact of Covid-19 on his personal life and business interests has influenced his decision.

Hemmings has enjoyed a long and successful assocation with, amongst others, Yorkshire racing legends Sue and Harvey Smith – most recently with staying chaser Vintage Clouds.