In-form Mullins secures successive hat-tricks
WILLIE MULLINS saddled a treble for the second successive day as he completed a three-timer at Thurles yesterday.
The hat-trick was kicked off by 11/4 chance Popcorn, with the trainer's son Patrick ably guiding him to a ready victory in the Beginners Chase.
"Patrick said he could be the type for the four-miler at Cheltenham. He's a very natural jumper and you wouldn't mind sending him anywhere," said the winning trainer. "He could even do something over a shorter trip."
Stable jockey Ruby Walsh then stepped up to the plate to take the ride on Turban (9/2), which made a winning debut in the Cahir Maiden Hurdle.
"I was pleasantly surprised as I thought he would want that run. Ruby said he'll improve an awful lot," said Mullins. "He nearly fell early on and idled when he hit the front, so he'll go for a novice hurdle next."
Pickapocketortwo completed the treble in the Novice Hurdle. Ipsos De Berlais was the odds-on favourite for the two-mile-six-furlong event, but 4/1 shot Pickapocketortwo got the better of the argument under Patrick Mullins by half a length.
"That's a much improved performance and he seems to be improving as he gets that bit fitter," said Mullins senior. "We'll have to step him up in class now. He'll go chasing next year."
The father and son combination looked to have an excellent chance of striking again in the concluding Liscahill Flat Race, but favourite Champagne Agent was no match for the impressive Touch Back.