Patrick and Willie Mullins dominate Punchestown Day Four as Gordon Elliot loses lead in race for trainers' title
Willie Mullins came from €126,830 down on Day Four of the Punchestown Festival to lead by €91,295 heading into the final day of the National Hunt season.
With Mullins' Arbie De Vie ousted by Jessica Harrington's Woodland Opera in the EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase, and with Gordon Elliott's Definite Ruby clinching the Hanlon Concrete E.B.F. Glencarraig Lady Mares Handicap Steeplechase, it looked as if it wasn't meant to be for Mullins on Day Four until Wicklow Brave stole the Champion Hurdle ahead of Nicky Henderson's My Tent On Yours.
Wicklow Brave, ridden by son Patrick Mullins, went clear ahead of the field heading down the straight to win the largest purse of the day, with another Mullins entrant Arctic Fire finishing third to add another €25,000 to the €147,500 won by Patrick and Wicklow Brave.
Not content with just a Champion Hurdle win, Patrick then backed up this performance by taking the Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle on 10/1 Bacardys, pipping the previously unbeaten Finian's Oscar in a photo finish.
The Mullins father-son duo then completed their three-peat in the Donohue Marquees Novice Hurdle where Patrick Mullins' Montalbano pipped Ruby Walsh's Riven Light at the finish to complete the Mullins one-two finish.
The Novice Hurdle win put Mullins €94, 295 ahead of Elliott heading into the final race, with the latter having led the trainers' championship for virtually the entire National Hunt season.
Elliott's It's All Guesswork finished second in the Gva Donal O'buachalla Property Advisors Flat Race to reduce the gap to €91,295, but it was a mere speedbump in what was a €218,125 swing for Mullins on Day Four.
With seven races left on the final day of the Punchestown Festival on Saturday, and with €430,000 in prize money still to race for, Elliott can still mount a comeback but Friday well and truly belonged to the Mullins family, both father and son.
3.40 KFM Hunters Steeplechase for Bishopscourt Cup of €15000.00
1st - Das Mooser 11/2 2nd - Shin A Vee 4/1 3rd Pass The Ball 4/1
4.20 EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Steeplechase (Grade A) of €100000
1st - Woodland Opera 11/4 2nd - Arbie De Vie 6/1 3rd Balko Des Flos 7/1
4.55 Hanlon Concrete E.B.F. Glencarraig Lady Mares Handicap Steeplechase (Grade B) of €75000
1st - Definite Ruby 7/1 2nd - Slowmotion 4/1 3rd - Elusive Ivy 7/1
5.30 BETDAQ Punchestown Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) of €250000
1st - Wicklow Brave 12/1 2nd - My Tent On Yours 8/1 3rd - Arctic Fire 9/2
6.05 Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) of €100000
1st - Barcardys 10/1 2nd - Finian's Order 13/8 3rd - Death Duty 9/2
6.40 Star Best For Racing Coverage Champion Hunters Steeplechase of €30000
1st - Balnaslow 4/1 2nd - Mendip Express 10/1 3rd - Minella For Value 6/1
7.10 Racing Post Novice Hurdle of €25000
1st - Montalbano 11/4 2nd - Riven Light 2/1 3rd - Chirico Vallis 14/1
7.45 GVA Donal O'Buachalla Property Advisors Flat Race of €15000
1st - Canardier 8/1 2nd - Its All Guesswork 6/1 3rd - General Consensus 50/1