Diakali shines for Ruby
Diakali made a successful return to action in the Fishery Lane Hurdle, which proved the highlight of a Willie Mullins-Ruby Walsh treble at Naas.
The four-year-old was last seen when landing a French Grade One back in June and Walsh was positive from the off aboard the attractive grey.
Sent off the 4/6 favourite, he set out to make all and Diakali was still clearly in control turning for home. Mr Fiftyone, which was a winner earlier in the week, tried his best to make a race of it coming down to the final flight but Walsh still had a little up his sleeve and eventually pulled two-and-a-quarter lengths clear again at the post.
"He's won over two-and-a-half miles and as he gets older, I'd say we'll go up in trip with him," said Mullins. "He has a staying pedigree and I was happy with the way he settled today.
"I was particularly pleased with how slick he jumped because coming back off running over French hurdles, I was expecting him to jump like a chaser."
Rupert Lamb had sparked off the Mullins-Walsh hat-trick in the opening Monread Rated Chase. The 9/10 favourite shook off the challenge of Dylan Ross from the last to win by two-and-three-quarter lengths.
"He seems to have improved from last year," Mullins added. "Hopefully we can tidy up his jumping and I think he'd prefer to go faster; you could see when they quickened up he jumped better. He could step up in distance but I think we'll keep him at that trip at the moment, if we can find the right races for him. It was a nice start to his season."
Clonard Lad made it three wins on the day when he gained a long overdue second success in the Book Hospitality On Line Maiden Hurdle. Sent off the 9/10 favourite, Clonard Lad has suffered with injury issues and Mullins was pleased to see him on the scoreboard.
"He deserved that win. He could easily go up in trip as he's a dour stayer and a good jumper; he keeps improving with every run."
While Walsh had to settle for three wins, Mullins made it four as Shaneshill (5/2 joint-favourite), partnered by his son Patrick, won the closing Go Racing In Kildare Membership 2014 (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race. The Tullow Tank (9/4) came with a late rattle to see off Mullins' favourite Turnandgo by a length and a half in the www.naasracecourse.com Maiden Hurdle.
"He's a nice horse. I thought he was in a bit of trouble at one stage but he stayed on really well," said trainer Philip Fenton. "I suppose the Royal Bond Hurdle could be next. It's not set in stone but we're thinking that way and I think he'll be a little better going right-handed."
Noel Meade's Road To Riches (11/4) made a decent impression when doing it from the front in the Naas Annual Membership Beginners Chase.
"I was worried after the way he finished up last season and we've changed things a bit," said Meade. "The main thing is I'm trying to keep him fresh and you probably won't see him too often."