'Tornado' fails to create storm on jumps bow, but only way is up
Tornado Flyer looks set for bigger things following his solid if not spectacular debut over jumps in the Punchestown Racecourse Of The Year Maiden Hurdle.
Running for the first time since landing the Champion Bumper at this track in April, the Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old raced keenly in third place on the rail for Ruby Walsh, as Take Revenge and Dream Conti took the field along.
Walsh switched him to the outside to make his bid and Tornado Flyer was soon in command, with the 4/9 hotpot putting the race to bed in a matter of strides to see off the plucky Take Revenge by two-and-three-quarter lengths.
"Ruby said he was very keen," said Mullins. "It was nice to get his maiden win. We'll look at Christmas and we'll look at the race at Naas (Novice Hurdle) in January."
Getabird could bid for Grade One honours at Limerick after impressing on his fencing debut in the Laois GAA Beginners Chase.
Mullins named the Matchbook Betting Chase Novice Chase as the target at Christmas for the dual Grade Two hurdle winner, who made the perfect start to his career over the bigger obstacles.
Always up with the pace, the 4/7 favourite was sent about his business by Walsh, who was sealing a hat-trick, before the final fence and he went on to win by seven-and-a-half lengths from Articulum.
"That was a good exhibition of jumping and he did it well. He likes this track," said Mullins, who was completing a hat-trick of his own on the card and six-timer on the day after three winners at Cork.
"He's better right-handed and Leopardstown is left-handed at Christmas. We might head towards Limerick for the new Grade One over two-and-a-half miles."
Due Reward led home a 1-2 for trainer Henry de Bromhead in the opening novice hurdle over two miles. Rachael Blackmore pushed the 5/2 shot into the lead between the last two flights and went on to score cosily by nine lengths from stablemate Minella Times, which made late gains to take the runner-up spot.
Blackmore led close home on Artic Pearl (8/1) for Kildare trainer Martin Brassil in the Sherry FitzGerald Lettings Handicap Hurdle to complete a double.
Se Mo Laoch held Snugsborough Hall by a length and three-quarters for trainer Brian McMahon and top amateur rider Derek O'Connor in the K Club Handicap Chase.
"I thought it might be difficult off this mark, but he's won well enough. The step up to three-and-a-quarter miles has probably helped him," said McMahon, who rents a yard in Spancil Hill off Noel Glynn.
"I'm a biochemist and I do that 9 to 5. I feed them in the morning before work and ride them out in the evening. It's a mad dash these days with the light fading."
Amateur Tom Hamilton was on the mark with the Joseph O'Brien-trained Embittered (9/2), which comfortably held off Gordon Elliott's 4/6 favourite Santana Plessis and Cenotice in the bumper.