Tuesday 25 October 2016

Min's Novices' Hurdle odds slashed after storming run

Thomas Kelly

Published 11/12/2015 | 02:30

Trainer Willie Mullins was delighted with Min's performance yesterday
Trainer Willie Mullins was delighted with Min's performance yesterday

Min, already favourite for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in March without even winning a race, strengthened his position at the head of the betting after making a breathtaking Irish debut in the Festival Hospitality On Sale Maiden Hurdle at Punchestown yesterday.

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Sent off the 4/11 favourite, Ruby Walsh felt the pace was not fast enough for the Rich Ricci-owned youngster and sent him to the front at halfway.

From there he gradually pulled further and further clear in the home straight, under minimal urgings, and strolled to a 14-length victory from Gurteen, which won a point-to-point on his only previous experience.

Bookmakers were quick to take evasive action, with Betfred making him their 7/1 favourite from 12s for the Supreme. BetVictor went just 5/1.

Beforehand Willie Mullins had stated that he hoped the rumours about how good Min was carried some substance.

"The rumours are true!" said Mullins, who was completing a treble on the afternoon. "That was two and a quarter miles and he could easily go back to two miles, and I would have no fear of going two and a half.

"He looks to have plenty of gears as I thought they were going a good gallop and yet he took off around halfway.

"He jumped very well for a horse having his first run on an Irish racecourse, and we will plan for something in the new year.

"The first race that comes to mind is the race that Vautour and Douvan won here next month (Grade Two Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle)."

Meanwhile, Net D'Ecosse pulled out all the stops to see off a JP McManus duo in the Punchestown For Events Beginners Chase.

Mullins' 2/1 chance led approaching the last but was slow into it, over it and away from it, allowing Peoples Park to regain the initiative.

Bryan Cooper forced Net D'Ecosse back in front on the line, though, with Blazer flying late to take third in the three-way photo.

"He was a bit fortunate, but jumped well until the last," said Mullins of the winner. "I'd say he will go up in trip. Christmas will probably come a bit soon and we'll find something for him in the new year."

Thomas Hobson regained the winning thread in the Buy Your 2016 Annual Membership Hurdle.

Walsh was allowed to dictate terms to suit himself on the 6/5 chance and he quickened clear of favourite Jetstream Jack approaching the final flight en route to a two-and-three-quarter-length triumph.

"His jumping is improving, but it can improve more," said Mullins. "He will be better on better ground. His jumping is improving but unless it improves a good bit more, he could go back on the Flat."

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