Mullins clan to the fore on Sligo night of family fortunes
TONY and Danny Mullins were the in-form team at Sligo last night, as the father and son combination landed a 98/1 double.
The first winner for the Kilkenny-based trainer and jockey came courtesy of Battling Boru which -- having been backed from 14/1 into 8/1 -- battled gamely to land the Sean Graham Bookmakers Handicap Hurdle.
Churchfield Champ went clear before the last flight and looked set to collect, but Battling Boru stayed on strongly to scoot clear close home for a two-length win. "I thought it was a weakish race," remarked Mullins Snr afterwards. "And that's why I fancied Battling Boru. He may go for another handicap and then go chasing."
The Mullins' brace was completed by the success of Clarach in the mares' handicap hurdle. Ridden from off the pace, Mullins Jnr left it late to challenge with Clarach.
The young rider kept his cool to wait for a gap to open on the run-in and the daughter of Beneficial sailed through it for a narrow win over Rising Time.
"Clarach is a grand mare, but I was worried about the ground for her," said the winning trainer. "We might have a try at the Galway Hurdle now."
Just for good measure, there was more joy for the Mullins clan in the bumper as champion trainer Willie sent out favourite Glens Melody to win under son Patrick.
The card's opportunity maiden hurdle also proved a family affair as Curragh Golan battled well under Mikey Butler to take the spoils for the jockey's father Mikey Snr. The son of Golan rallied well from the last to deny 5/2 favourite Sliabh Glath by a neck.
Andrew Lynch was another in double-winning form. The Meath rider guided Jim Dreaper's Sizing Italy to victory in the opening maiden hurdle in the famous colours of Alan and Ann Potts.
The son of Milan stayed on well under pressure from the second last to see off Sonapour and Defence Of Duress.
Winner No 2 for Lynch rider came aboard Paul Gilligan's Roving Lad, which followed up his recent Limerick success by capturing the Ladies Day 9th August at Sligo Handicap Hurdle.
There was a tragic conclusion to the mares' maiden hurdle when winner Lough Donnell Mist collapsed and died shortly after pulling up.
Ridden by Danny Howard, the daughter of Presenting readily justified 9/4 favouritism when staying on well to record a comfortable 10-lengths win over Theonewiththeleg.
However, shortly after pulling up and when walking back along the walkway, Lough Donnell Mist started to wobble and afterwards collapsed and died. The cause of her death is not yet known, but a heart attack is suspected.