Monday 19 February 2018

Clonmel success puts Fairyhouse on 'Roi' agenda

Jockey Bryan Cooper
Jockey Bryan Cooper

Thomas Kelly

Willie Mullins is likely to target Fairyhouse's Easter Festival with Roi Des Francs after his success in the Surehaul Mercedes-Benz Novice Hurdle at Clonmel.

The 2/1 favourite - one of three runners for owners Gigginstown House - justified strong market support when knuckling down well under Bryan Cooper to take the contest by two and a quarter lengths from Fine Article.

It was a second successive victory in the race for the owner, trainer and jockey combination, after they teamed up to take last year's renewal with Don Poli, which subsequently went on to take the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle.

While Roi Des Francs is not due to feature in Mullins' raiding party for next month's Festival, a trip to Prestbury Park could be on the cards for Turban, which made it a treble for the trainer when coming with a late run under Ruby Walsh to beat Rubi Light by three and a half lengths in the Patsy O'Brien Memorial Chase.

The victory in the two-and-a-half-mile heat marked the first time the eight-year-old had scored over that kind of distance.

Argentino (7/2) kicked off Mullins' treble, as well as doubles for Cooper and Gigginstown, by edging out favourite I Knew Well in the opening maiden hurdle.

Irish Independent

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