Tuesday 24 April 2018

Mullins team misfires on day of surprises at Punchestown

Willie Mullins (Photo: SPORTSFILE)
Willie Mullins (Photo: SPORTSFILE)
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

A shock defeat for Vautour epitomised what was a frustrating opening day of the Punchestown Festival for Willie Mullins and punters alike.

A year ago, the champion trainer departed the Kildare gala with 10 of the 12 Grade Ones and a record total of 16 winners. However, there was always a chance that his recent aggressive pursuit of the British trainers' title might undermine his prospects, and yesterday his status as the punters' pal suffered a hit on an evening of carnage.

Yorkhill bombed at odds-on under Ruby Walsh in the Herald Champion Novices' Hurdle, likewise Vautour, which couldn't cope with the fractions over two miles in the €200,000 BoyleSports Champion Chase as the Paddy Brennan-ridden God's Own repeated its Aintree heroics.

Then Outlander fluffed its lines in the Growise Champion Chase, Zabana returning a hugely popular winner under Davy Russell for small-scale trainer Andy Lynch.

Mullins took the last with Cilaos Emery and Wish Ye Didnt initiated a first and last race double for favourites, but it was a difficult start for punters. The bookmakers held €955,255 in total.

That was down from €980,285 in 2015, though on a bitterly cold day that mixed sunshine, sleet and snow, there was little doubt layers kept a greater portion this time. The attendance also fell marginally from 20,214 to 19,825.

Indo Sport

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport