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Mullins takes a tasty treble

Racing in Ireland made its overdue return after yet another slightly un-expected delay as Naas were forced to abandon their meeting on Saturday.

Thankfully, it is due to go ahead tomorrow.

Fairyhouse got us back in the swing of things and Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh continued where they left off as Arvika Ligeonniere justified plenty of confidence beforehand and instigated a treble for both the trainer and jockey, which included the feature Grade Two Normans Grove Chase.

Scotsirish, unlike his opening race-winning stablemate, was easy to back on the track and drifted before the off in a race that saw support for previous winner Mansony and Gold Cup entry Rare Bob.


However, it was the Mullins-trained Scotsirish who took up matters under Walsh three out that battled on gamely on the run in to hold his near neighbour Snowy Morning with Mansony back in third and Aran Concerto putting his previous season starts behind him to run a more creditable race in fourth.

The Ryanair was in Mullins' mind for the winner but there will be at least another run before the destination of Scotsirish is decided upon.

"Ruby was adamant he didn't make enough use of him last time at Leopardstown so that's why he went on three out," said Mullins.

"He jumped from fence to fence and that's what pleased me most about the performance and I was very pleased with Snowy Morning also.

"That wasn't his (Scotsirish's) ideal ground and I have no immediate plans for the pair but Scotsirish does have an entry in the Ryanair, though he will run again before then."

Of opening race winner Arvika Ligeonniere, Mullins said: "He showed there what we thought he'd do in his bumper. Ruby's objective was to go out there and get him settled and he achieved that. This is his trip and he'll run again in about three weeks."

Mullins completed his treble later than most anticipated as he had to wait until the concluding bumper where son Patrick steered the impressive Up Ou That to a 16-length victory.

Mullins admitted that the Cheltenham Bumper which he has been so successful in, will be the next target for this one-time Punchestown point-to-point winner.

"This fellow looks like a proper bumper horse and I think he'll be better on better ground. I'm looking forward to big improvement from him in the spring and I'd imagine I won't run him again until Cheltenham."

It would have been expected that Mullins would have recorded a treble before the Fairyhouse bumper with Cousin Vinny sent off a short-priced favourite for his chasing debut, while at Thurles Ryhl Accord was defeated in the conditions hurdle which was won by the Mouse Morris-trained Elysian Rock -- both of the Mullins pair finishing third.

It was the Henry de Bromhead-trained An Cathair Mor who landed the beginners at the Co Meath track in a tight finish where he just got the better of the one-time conqueror of Denman, Nicanor.

Having good form tying in with River Liane and Captain Cee Bee in his two previous starts over the larger obstacles, An Cathair Mor earned a deserved victory at the third time of asking.


His trainer, who revealed that Sizing Europe would be likely go straight to Cheltenham, said of An Cathair Mor: "He's in the Arkle at Leopardstown next week and could go there as he takes his racing very well. I said to David even before the result it was a very good ride because he is a horse that has to be dropped on the line although it wasn't good for my heart!"

Mouse Morris enjoyed an across the card double beginning with yet another game performance from the now JP McManus-owned The Hurl who took up matters early in the novice hurdle in the hands of Slippers Madden and went on to outdo joint favourite Grange Alainn by six lengths.

The aforementioned Elysian Rock, a half brother to Venalmar, completed the brace while, incidentally, Walsh completed his treble on the Tony Martin-trained Saddlers Storm.

Action continues today at Thurles and Saturday's Naas meeting, where the Grade Two Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice Chase remains the feature contest, is expected to get underway tomorrow.

The in-form Mouse Morris was due to run three here on Saturday but one of that trio, Baily View, is engaged at Thurles today, and the selection remains with Beckett Rock who has solid claims to take this from Alpha Ridge and Telenor.

There is a small field expected for the Limestone Lad and it wouldn't take a formbook expert to expect Muirhead to take the race for Noel Meade and Paul Carberry.

Carberry was one of the few to benefit from the meeting getting called off on Saturday as his suspension does not come into effect on rescheduled dates such as tomorrow, where there will be no Irish racing on the calendar.