Vic hangs on to deny Thistle Raid at Punchestown
Killultagh Vic repelled the late thrust of Thistlecrack to claim the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle at Punchestown for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend.
Winner of the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Hurdle at Cheltenham, Killultagh Vic was one of three runners in this three-mile Grade One for the champion trainer.
Stable jockey Ruby Walsh unsurprisingly elected to ride Shaneshill, who was sent off the 11-8 favourite having finished second behind esteemed stable companion Douvan in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle before winning at Fairyhouse.
The market leader travelled powerfully throughout, but Killultagh Vic (8-1) tracked his every move and the Mullins runner looked set to assert in the straight.
However, while Shaneshill began to weaken, Colin Tizzard's British raider Thistlecrack came with a wet sail and was just half a length down on Killultagh Vic at the line.
Mullins said: "Killultagh Vic looks like a chaser but I'll have to have a chat with the owners, who may consider keeping him over hurdles for the World Hurdle.
"I don't know if Shaneshill didn't stay or he's just feeling the effects of a couple of runs. We'll have to see if any excuse comes to light to explain why he appeared to stop. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of why that happened.
"It's great to have such depth, both with our horses and also with our riders. Paul gave the winner a great ride."