Vroum Vroum scoots home to take Clonmel prize for Ruby
Classy Vroum Vroum Mag remains unbeaten in this country after cruising home to land the EBF Mares Hurdle at Clonmel.
The race was part of a card which had to be rearranged twice, and the ground was so testing the two chases scheduled had to be abandoned.
Mud-loving Vroum Vroum Mag ploughed through it with glee, and Ruby Walsh never moved a muscle on the six-year-old until asking for a big leap at the last. Sent off at 1/16, she was having her first start over hurdles for Willie Mullins having won six out of six over fences.
Walsh was happy to take a lead for the first mile and a half before easing to the front and recording a three-length win over Mrs Mac Veale. "She did what I hoped she would do. There is a mares' race at Huntingdon, but it may come too soon," said Mullins.
"There is a big possibility that she could go for the mares' hurdle at Cheltenham if for any reason Annie Power doesn't make it. On her chase runs she looks good and it's in the back of our minds."
This sealed a short-priced double for Mullins as another French recruit, Bello Conti, made a winning stable debut when justifying 8/13 favouritism for Bryan Cooper in the opening maiden hurdle - leading on the turn to beat Madfuninthewest by seven-and-a-half lengths.
The champion trainer was expected to claim a hat-trick in the amateur riders' maiden hurdle with 2/5 favourite A Toi Phil but his hopes were undone early on as second favourite Sizing Alberta ducked violently left on the first bend and carried both the market leader and Paper Lantern off the track.
Patrick Mullins was unseated from the hot favourite and this paved the way for the Edmond Kent-trained For Freddie to spring a 33/1 shock in the hands of Eoin O'Brien, with Paper Lantern doing very well to get back in the race and claim third.