Bon Papa makes good first impression
Bon Papa looks to have a very bright future over fences after making a winning start over the big obstacles in the BETDAQ App Beginners Chase at Punchestown yesterday.
Found wanting in a couple of Grade Ones over three miles after winning a maiden hurdle at the start of the year, Willie Mullins' 5/2 shot was dropped to two miles for his chasing bow.
There is still something to work on in the jumping department, but his big engine carried him into contention nearing the straight and, after taking it up before the last, he powered 11 lengths clear of Light That.
The victory completed a double for Barry Geraghty, who was also successful on the Gavin Cromwell-trained Spades Are Trumps in the opening maiden hurdle.
Geraghty had strong claims of completing a treble on Fitzhenry, which did himself no favours with a bad blunder on the far side in the Handicap Chase.
He still held every chance after the last but couldn't quite peg back Flynsini (16/1), which held on by a short head.
The West's Awake was a poignant winner of the Novice Chase. The 16/1 chance is trained by Edward O'Grady, whose wife Maria died following a fall while out hunting last Saturday.
Mullins completed a brace thanks to Bang Bang Rosie's victory in the Flat Race. Having her first start since joining the champion trainer from the Colin McBratney stable, the 11/8 favourite travelled like much the best horse in the race and sprinted six-and-a-half lengths away from Calicojack in the hands of Patrick Mullins.
Meanwhile, Karalee returns to action in the Mares Hurdle at Thurles today. After making a successful start to her Irish career at Killarney in May 2015, Willie Mullins' French import wasn't seen in competitive action again until March of this year when she ran away with a Limerick contest.
That earned her a tilt at the Mares Champion Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival and, while no match for the top-class Apple's Jade there, she ran really well to finish third.
Mullins tries Montalbano over fences in the Beginners' Chase. The five-year-old claimed the scalp of classy stable companion Riven Light when last seen. Riven Light won the Cahir Maiden Hurdle 12 months ago and Real Steel is the champion trainer's representative this time around.
Another to arrive at Closutton from France, the Loup Breton gelding currently trades at around 33/1 for the Supreme and Ballymore at the Cheltenham Festival and those odds are likely to shorten should he put in a bold performance on his Irish bow.
The Shark Hanlon-trained Rare Legend made a successful raid on Huntingdon last weekend and is back on home soil under a penalty in the Thurles Handicap Hurdle.