Mullins eyes bigger prizes after Bonbon's sweet success
Bonbon Au Miel led home a 1-2-3 for Willie Mullins in Saturday's beginners chase at Navan and looks destined for loftier targets.
The 9/4 chance didn't find much for pressure on his fencing bow at Fairyhouse last month but that clearly blew away the cobwebs because he made much of the running under David Mullins and had plenty left in the locker for the business end of this tw0-and-a-half-mile contest.
Turcagua tried to get him off the bridle, but Bonbon Au Miel sprinted away approaching the last, where a spring-heeled leap help seal an 11-length success. Cadmium completed Mullins' clean sweep.
"It's getting so late in the season that I wanted to get a few horses out," explained Mullins.
"The experience that Bonbon Au Miel had from the last day was a help and the ground suited him. Turcagua ran well and jumped great and he could go into a Graded chase now.
"Cadmium jumped way better than I expected and I hope that he'll have no trouble with his beginners.The late rain that we had probably made the ground a bit looser and it's fresh so it gave them a chance.
"Bonbon Au Miel will be going up in trip rather than back, and may come back here next month for the three-mile novice chase (Grade Two Ten Up, February 18)."
Riders Onthe Storm produced a sterling performance to break his duck in the novice hurdle under JJ Slevin and his trainer Tom Taaffe said: "I like this horse and, if he's half as good as some of the horses that have won this race in the past 10 years, he'll be fine.
"Un De Sceaux, Sir Des Champs, Cause Of Causes and Sublimity have all won this race. He's a true chaser. He got outbattled by a horse that knew how to battle the last day.
"I told JJ (Slevin) to not be afraid to go on from the turn and he'll stay galloping. If he hadn't missed the last, he would probably have won by a few more lengths.
"He's a lovely big horse with a great page but just needs to grow up. He'll go chasing next season."
Jessica Harrington's Not Many Left was similarly impressive in getting off the mark in the tw0-and-a-half-mile maiden hurdle.
Jockey Robbie Power said of the 3/1 winner: "He's a very nice horse, a true stayer, and handled the conditions very well."
Mullins-trained newcomer Castlebawn West turned for home in the bumper in front, but found disappointingly little and trailed home last of the four runners.
The prize went to the Gordon Elliott-trained Diamond Turf, which stretched nine lengths away from Bennaway in the hands of Lisa O'Neill.