Fab four for Willie Mullins at Fairyhouse
Killultagh Vic, a winner at both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals last season, made a seamless transition over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase at Fairyhouse - the first leg of a sparking four-timer for Willie Mullins.
While his success at Cheltenham came in handicap company, he handled the step up to Grade One class at Punchestown and looks set to take high rank in the novice chase division.
Racing over two miles, a trip some way short of his best, he barely put a foot wrong in justifying odds of 1-5 under Ruby Walsh.
Walsh said: "We knew he stays and it's great to win over two miles.
"It's testing ground. Hopefully it's onwards and upwards."
Mullins quickly brought up a double with Roi Des Francs (8-13 favourite) in the Promote Your Business At Fairyhouse In 2016 Beginners Chase.
Owned by Gigginstown House Stud and ridden by Bryan Cooper, he was unextended in seeing off classy hurdler Sub Lieutenant in the same colours.
Second only to Monksland on his chasing debut, he looks another novice destined for big things for Mullins as he coasted to a six-length win.
"He stays and he jumps," said Mullins.
"He'll be one of our good staying novices, and the race that first comes to mind is the four-miler at Cheltenham.
"He could be a National horse down the road.
"He seems to excel in that ground but I'd imagine over a distance he'd go on good ground."
A treble for Mullins and a double for Walsh was brought up by Allblak Des Places in the Book Online At fairyhouse.ie 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle.
Placed twice in France, he now runs in the colours made famous by Hurricane Fly.
Walsh was hard at work on the run to the last and a better leap by Aidan O'Brien's Outspoken, a decent performer on the level, may well have seen a different result.
Outspoken rallied after the last but went down by a length and three-quarters to the 1-3 favourite.
Mullins said: "He was a bit fortuitous and I'd say his experience won it for him.
"His jumping was a big help.
"Christmas will come too soon but I'd like to get another run into him, and timing wise the race at Gowran on Thyestes day would suit."
Three soon became four for Mullins as the Gigginstown-owned, Cooper-ridden Gangster skipped effortlessly clear in the Grade Three Kerry Group Stayers Novice Hurdle.
The 5-6 favourite had far too many gears for Last Encounter, who was comprehensively beaten by 10 lengths.
Mullins said: "He loves that trip and ground.
"He's a horse with a lot of stamina.
"He'll continue to pursue those types of races, and hopefully he's good enough to go for the Albert Bartlett.
"He has the speed to win over two miles which a lot of three-mile horses don't have."