Mullins hails 'agile' Arvika

Arvika Ligeonniere made a stunning comeback to romp to victory in the Beginners Chase at Punchestown yesterday.

Ridden by Ruby Walsh, the Willie Mullins-trained gelding made all the running and jumped superbly, with the exception of a slightly untidy jump at the third last.

At the line, the son of Arvico eased to a 13-length win over Tom Horn, but the margin did not reflect the winner's superiority in any way.

Mullins remarked: "He was electric!

"He just met one wrong, but for a big horse to be so agile is promising. I doubt we'll get another run into him unless we get an awful summer, but we'll see what happens in the next few weeks. That will probably be it until next season, though."


Mullins was completing a double as he had earlier struck with Balnaslow, who justified 1/6 favouritism with the minimum of fuss under Davy Russell in the Dobbins Food Hall Maiden Hurdle.

Jumping well at the head of affairs, he didn't need to come out of second gear to comfortably beat Captain Lob by a length and a quarter.

The champion trainer stated: "We might keep Balnaslow going if the ground stays right.

"He'll go on good ground and if we could win another hurdle with him shortly, I'd suggest to the owners that we go chasing next term -- he's an absolute natural jumper."

The Donal Hassett-trained Droim Toll took the feature event, the Breakfast With Hector On 2FM Handicap Chase, run over a marathon three miles and six furlongs.

Akeed Mofeed is not a certain runner in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown on Sunday.

The John Oxx-trained colt is prominent in the betting for the Investec Derby but his participation for the Classic trial is in some doubt.

Akeed Mofeed missed the 2000 Guineas after suffering a setback and Oxx is still not convinced he is back to his best.

"We've no definite decision yet. We just have to do a little more work and make up our minds," said Oxx. "It may come too soon.

"I'd say he's not a certain runner, we'll see on Friday morning."

Joseph O'Brien has picked up a four-day suspension at Chester.

The rider was found guilty of using his whip above the permitted level when finishing a narrow second aboard Betterbetterbetter, who is trained by his father Aidan, in the Weatherbys Bank Cheshire Oaks.

O'Brien will be sidelined from May 23-26 inclusive, which includes the Abu Dhabi Irish Guineas meeting.

However, O'Brien can apply to the British Horseracing Authority to defer the ban as Group One racing will be taking place.

Black Caviar heads 57 sprinters from across the globe entered for the Darley July Cup at Newmarket.

The Australian superstar is unbeaten in 20 starts in her homeland and is expected to stay on for this third British leg of the Global Sprint Challenge after running first at Royal Ascot.