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Classy Sir is pure Gold

WILLIE MULLINS remained the only Irish trainer to saddle a winner at this year's Cheltenham Festival after day three of the meeting, but in winning the Jewson Chase, Mullins looked to have unearthed a real star of the future.

Sir Des Champs was the third Mullins winner of the week and Michael O'Leary's classy individual maintained his fantastic unbeaten record with a quite impressive display.

Sent off the 3/1 second favourite, Sir Des Champs had Peddlers Cross to beat according to the market, but Donald McCain's charge, who finished runner-up to Hurricane Fly in last year's Champion Hurdle, was last of the eight finishers.

McCain revealed afterwards that Peddlers Cross would now return to hurdles, while Mullins has just one plan with Sir Des Champs and that is to get him back to Cheltenham on this day in 12 months.


Following the horse's second consecutive Festival win, Mullins said: "He was very good and I'm really looking forward to him next year over further trips.

"He was foot-perfect, Davy asked him plenty of questions and he came up every time. He rode him with great confidence."

Mullins admitted: "I don't really care where he goes next season, I just want to get him back for one day here. With Gigginstown House Stud having so many novice chases this season, we went around the country this season to find opportunities."

Sir Des Champs will probably go to Punchestown according to his trainer, who was delighted to see the six-year-old come through "his first real test" with such a positive result.

Ahead of today's running of the Gold Cup, Sir Des Champs was an 8/1 shot for next year's renewal alongside Bobs Worth.

Boylesports were on the receiving end of a hiding from Sir Des Champs after he claimed a €50,000 bonus for connections that the bookmaker offered following his success on Boylesports.com day at Leopardstown back in January. And incidentally Citizenship was set to go for his €100,000 bonus in the County Hurdle today.

Regarding his first Cheltenham Festival winner of the week Davy Russell stated: "He's very good. He never missed a beat. He's a good one."

In relation to being a possible Gold Cup contender he added: "There is a long way to go yet before that."