Yonger comes of age in Punchestown
Felix Yonger outgunned Baily Green to clinch victory in a thrilling BoyleSports Champion Chase at Punchestown.
Felix Yonger was one of three runners in the Grade One contest for Willie Mullins, with stable jockey Ruby Walsh siding with 3-1 favourite Champagne Fever and Paul Townend aboard Twinlight, leaving Danny Mullins to partner the apparent third string.
A 5-1 shot off the back of winning his last three races, Felix Yonger was waited with in the two-mile feature before gradually making headway to close on the leaders down the back straight.
With Champagne Fever and Hidden Cyclone emptying before the home turn, it was left to Felix Yonger and 40-1 shot Baily Green to fight it out, with the former winning the argument by half a length.
Hidden Cyclone was back in third, but Champagne Fever was well beaten.
Mullins said: "That's great for Danny. He went off to America the last two weekends and rode four winners. He's riding out of his skin.
"He's riding full of confidence. He sat on him and waited his turn, letting his lungs fill with air and came with one run. It paid off.
"He has the confidence to ride him like that and when the horse hits a flat spot he leaves him alone until he comes right. They are a good partnership.
"We thought it was a very open race going out. Ruby said Champagne Fever slipped going into the first and was never right after. Paul said Twinlight hit a wing in mid-air and his race was gone then.
"Felix Yonger is a good horse. They are calling it good to yielding but there is a lot more good in it and that suits him so I thought he might come into it. It didn't surprise me.
"We'll probably put him away now."