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Tullow Tank outgunned by Vatour in Deloitte Hurdle


Trainer Willie Mullins, who addressed the meeting.

Trainer Willie Mullins, who addressed the meeting.

Trainer Willie Mullins, who addressed the meeting.

Vautour floored The Tullow Tank with a convincing all-the-way win in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Ruby Walsh took the bull by the horns and dictated affairs on the Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old, who comfortably held the 9-10 favourite by three lengths.

Vautour (7-4) was never put under serious pressure to hold the The Tullow Tank and take his 100 per cent record over hurdles to three since joining the Mullins team from France.

he Tullow Tank appeared to be travelling well enough in third spot behind Vautour and Quickpick Vic, but he could not quicken at a crucial part of the race.

Mullins said: "I was concerned there'd be no pace. We always think that when you've got a good horse you have to have a good pace.

"I said to Ruby that if there was no pace, don't be afraid to go on, but that was still plan B."

Vautour is now the general ante-post favourite to win the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Mullins said: "He jumped very well in front and I was very happy with him.

"I'm still happy to go to the Supreme with him."

Ballycasey put up an admirable display as deputy for Champagne Fever to take the Dr PJ Moriarty Novice Chase at Leopardstown.

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Trainer Willie Mullins had no qualms pitching the grey in his stablemate's absence and he duly landed the spoils at odds of 2-1 after making most of the running.

Don Cossack, the even-money favourite, was second, while the other member of the party, Carlingford Lough, unseated Tony McCoy at the final fence.

Ballycasey had suffered a setback since making a winning debut over fences in November but was primed for action as he took each fence in his stride to show he is a top novice.

Don Cossack put in a determined bid from the home turn and Carlingford Lough was close up as they approached the last, but the latter was short of room and came down.

Ballycasey then pulled away from his remaining rival on the run-in to score tidily.

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