Mullins continues 'Barka' spree as Mr Adjudicator captures spoils
Willie Mullins continued his domination of the Prix la Barka at Auteuil yesterday when Mr Adjudicator dug deep to deny stablemate Bapaume back-to-back wins and land the €75,000 first prize.
Mullins had won the last three renewals, with Un De Sceaux and Shaneshill scoring prior to Bapaume 12 months ago, and this time he fielded five of the nine runners.
Blue Dragon, a rare home-trained runner, took them along ahead of Stormy Ireland, another Mullins representative, with Paul Townend on Bapaume prepared to bide his time.
Townend was keen to grab the rail on Bapaume and having claimed Blue Dragon jumping the last, he could bag what he thought was the prime position.
However, Bertrand Lestrade, possibly using some local knowledge on Mr Adjudicator, came down the centre of the track to win going away.
Assistant trainer Patrick Mullins remarked: "He really improved from the last day (seventh in French Champion Hurdle) when he got hampered.
"I thought Lestrade gave him a fabulous ride, as they went quite hard in front and down the back straight he stayed on the inside before coming home strong.
"Bapaume ran well, he had top-weight so it wasn't easy, but he loves it round here.
"It's fantastic for the Bobbetts (owners) because last year Mr Adjudicator came here but couldn't run because he was vaccinated wrong, so it's compensation for that."
In the earlier Prix des Drags, Ross O'Sullivan's Baie Des Iles was well beaten when trying to win the race for a second time.
There was also some bad news for Mullins - whose 8/11 favourite True Self was turned over by the William Haggas-trained Klassique in Haydock's Pinnacle Stakes on Saturday - as Isleofhopendreams broke down badly in a race won by Isabelle Pacault's Jubilatoire.
At Roscommon this evening, the champion trainer's brother Tom will have high hopes for Bercasa in the featured EBF Fillies' Handicap over 10 furlongs. She won at Leopardstown first time out before finishing third in a two-mile handicap hurdle at Ballinrobe last time out.
Nicely weighted, she should go close under Shane Foley, but may have to play second fiddle to the promising Heliac, which can take advantage of an attractive mark for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane.
Elsewhere, Ken Condon's Success Days and the David Menuisier-trained Dancetaria make the journey to ParisLongchamp today for the Group Three La Coupe.