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Diakali impresses for Mullins as Solwhit wilts

WILLIE Mullins and Ruby Walsh again made their trip to Auteuil a fruitful one as Diakali won yesterday's Grade One Prix Alain du Breil, but there was no joy in the French Champion Hurdle with Charles Byrnes' Solwhit the best of the Irish in second.

Diakali was the only Mullins runner in the field as Blood Cotil stepped out lame yesterday and was withdrawn and although the Paul Nicholls-trained four-year-old Ptit Zig looked like posing a threat in the closing stages, Diakali stuck at the task well to win by an impressive seven lengths.

Cheltenham and Aintree hero Solwhit was sent off favourite later in the afternoon for the French Champion Hurdle and, under a patient ride from Davy Russell, crept into contention from halfway but couldn't reel in the front running Gemix, who galloped the field into submission to record an eight-length success.

Incidentally, Mullins went on to to record a cross-Channel double as Levanto landed the TRM Invest In Calphormin Handicap at the Curragh in the hands of Johnny Murtagh.