Tuesday 16 January 2018

Rite odds cut for festival

Rite Of Passage strengthened his claims for Cheltenham with an easy victory at Punchestown yesterday.

The Dermot Weld-trained gelding made it two out of two over jumps with an effortless display in the Book Your Festival Tickets Hurdle. Stepped up to two and a half miles, the 2/7 shot won by one length from Healy's Bar for amateur rider Robbie McNamara.

He was cut to 5/2 favourite for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

Flat Out advertised his Cheltenham prospects with a comfortable all-the-way win in the maiden hurdle.

Willie Mullins' 11/10 favourite wasn't hard-ridden by Emmet Mullins to beat Better Times by seven lengths. "I'm very pleased," said Mullins. "I'd say he'll go for the Supreme Novices Hurdle."

Won In The Dark enjoyed his first victory since April 2008 in the Five Day Festival Hurdle. The even-money favourite appreciated the drop in class as Davy Russell's mount swept to a four-length win.

Cayo Levantado was backed down from 20/1 to 2/1 favourite in the handicap hurdle and obliged by three lengths.

Smoking Aces (5/1) got back up in the dying strides to short-head Boulavogue in the Book The Pavilion At Festival Hurdle.

Irish Independent

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