Monday 5 December 2016

Bellshill shows his Festival potential

Thomas Kelly

Published 14/12/2015 | 02:30

Trainer Willie Mullins
Trainer Willie Mullins

Bellshill gave Willie Mullins his fourth win in the last five renewals of the Navan Novice Hurdle with a clear-cut victory that underlined his Cheltenham Festival potential.

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A Grade One bumper winner at Punchestown in April, the 4/6 favourite followed up his debut hurdles win at Cork in a stylish manner to take this Grade Two over two and a half miles.

The winner's stablemate Stone Hard made the running until he parted company with Paul Townend at the fifth-last flight. That left Ruby Walsh in front on Bellshill and the Graham Wylie-owned charge sealed success with good leaps at the final two flights to score by 12 lengths from Tycoon Prince.

Ttebbob gave a superb round of jumping to maintain his unbeaten record over fences in the Klairon Davis Novice Chase. In front from flagfall, the 2/5 favourite dictated affairs and Robbie Power eased his mount 41 lengths clear of Lord Scoundrel at the line.

Harrington and Power recorded a double when Walk To Freedom capitalised on the last-fence fall of Edwulf to take the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase.

Edwulf, trained by Aidan O'Brien, looked to have the race at his mercy when coming down, but his untimely exit saw Walk To Freedom (6/4 favourite) head McKinley on the Flat and go on to score by four lengths.

Gordon Elliott was another trainer to claim a double courtesy of the victories of Killer Crow (10/1) for Bryan Cooper in the Prancer And Dancer Rated Novice Chase and the Nina Carberry-ridden Death Duty (5/4) in the bumper.

The Tara Handicap Hurdle turned into a family affair as Katie Walsh enjoyed an armchair success on Rossvoss (14/1), trained by her father Ted.

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