Raptor swoops to initiate sparkling Mullins treble
WILLIE MULLINS stole the show at Punchestown with a sparkling 12/1 treble, kicking off with Raptor, which recorded a battling victory in the conditions chase.
The 11/8 favourite was without a win in six starts before this and looked to have a real battle on his hands when he and Slieveardagh took up the running at the second-last fence. However, Slieveardagh crashed out at the last, allowing Ruby Walsh to coast home 15 lengths clear of Uncle Tom Cobley.
Mullins grabbed his second winner, giving Walsh a double, when Letherbelucky (4/5 favourite) added a hurdling win to her bumper success in the jogforjockeys.ie (Mares) Maiden Hurdle, coming home seven lengths clear of Cuteasafox.
The treble for the champion handler came when 2/1 joint-favourite Passage Vendome got the better of fellow market leader Buy Back Bob in the maiden hurdle under Emmett Mullins.
Loosen My Load's return to action ended in defeat as Whodoyouthink made every yard to land the richest race on the card.
Henry De Bromhead's charge was labouring long before the turn for home and it was left to Askanna to put up a fight to Whodoyouthink, but Oliver mcKiernan's 9/1 chance ambled clear under Mick Darcy.