Diakali impresses ahead of Triumph Hurdle
DIAKALI (1-2 favourite) enhanced his Triumph Hurdle claims with an easy victory in the Visit punchestown.com For All Our Offers Juvenile Hurdle.
The Willie Mullins-trained four-year-old set out to make all under Paul Townend and never saw another rival in the Grade Three event.
Gordon Elliott's Flaxen Flare gave chase but the writing was on the wall some way out and he trailed home 28 lengths adrift.
Paddy Power cut the winner to 12-1 from 16s for the Cheltenham event.
Mullins said: "That looked very good and it was a nice progression from his Gowran run. He can jump, gallop and stay and I don't think you need much more!
"I don't know if he'll have another run before Cheltenham but he's on the short-list. He missed one or two hurdles but I think it was because Paul was trying to settle him - he might prefer going on a bit faster.
"It's hard for a four-year-old on only his second hurdle start to go out in front on a big open track with no rail but we decided to make the running because there didn't appear to be a lot of pace.
"Paul said he picked it up after two out and came back on the bridle. He's very keen, which was a feature of his flat runs, and I was hoping hurdling might settle him more, and I think he will settle with more racing."