Mullins 'amazed' by victorious Vinny
Cousin Vinny made a winning return after almost two years on the sidelines in yesterday's Festival Free Upgrade Offer Hurdle at Punchestown
The Willie Mullins-trained 2008 Champion Bumper winner had not been seen in competitive action since finishing behind stablemate Quevega at the 2010 Punchestown Festival, but was still sent off the 8/11 favourite.
Ruby Walsh eased his mount to the front between the final two obstacles and while he fluffed his lines at the last, he soon recovered to beat Won In The Dark by three and a quarter lengths.
"He showed his class when he straightened up going to the last. I was amazed at the speed he showed and how he has retained it is extraordinary," said Mullins.
"We'll find another conditions race, something similar and he will be aimed at the Punchestown Festival."
Mullins and Walsh were also fancied to land the conditions hurdle over two and half miles with favourite Maggie Connolly, but this went to the TJ Nagle-trained chaser The Bishop Looney (8/1).
Conor O'Dwyer was on the mark with Competitive Edge, which justified 6/5 favouritism to capture the maiden hurdle in the JP McManus colours under Mark Walsh.
The mares maiden hurdle was won in impressive fashion by Noel Kelly's Charlie's Vic (6/1).
The Noel Meade-trained Ange Blanc (7/2 co-favourite) made a winning debut in the AES Family Saturday At The Festival Flat Race to initiate a Nina Carberry 'bumper' double, which she completed in the concluding Goffs Punchestown Invitational Sale Flat Race when winning on Gordon Elliott's 3/1 joint favourite In The Binyanis.