Tuesday 20 February 2018

Willie Mullins sweeps all before him at Fairyhouse

Trainer Willie Mullins
Trainer Willie Mullins

A Willie Mullins clean sweep in the Grade One Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle, headed by Adriana Des Mottes, capped another big afternoon for Ireland's champion jumps trainer at Fairyhouse.

Adriana Des Mottes, the 15-8 favourite, made all in the hands of Paul Townend to run out a ready seven-length winner with stablemates Beluckyagain and Urticaire second and third respectively.

"It's like having three winners with Adriana Des Mottes winning and Beluckyagain finishing second and running fantastic and getting some more black type for Urticaire," said the County Carlow trainer.

Mullins felt it was a blessing Adriana Des Mottes had been brought down as early as the second flight by her stable companion Abbyssial in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham.

"It was probably lucky that it happened so early at Cheltenham. You'd have to wonder how the two of them would have got on in the race," he said. "She's a fine big mare and she'll probably go for the four-year-old champion race at Punchestown."

Rich Ricci, the owner of Adriana Des Mottes, was also on the board with Arvika Ligeonniere (1-2 favourite) in the Normans Grove Chase.

The nine-year-old, also ridden by Townend, led a one-two for Mullins as he swept to an easy all-the-way victory by three and a quarter lengths from stablemate Twinlight as he bounced back from defeat in Cheltenham's Queen Mother Champion Chase.

"I thought he jumped particularly well. He was back the right way of going today," said Mullins.

"He'll go for the two-mile race at Punchestown. He seems to prefer going right-handed. The ground is a big factor too. he's a real brave chaser and we're lucky to have him."

Valseur Lido (5-2) made it three for Mullins when beating fellow Gigginstown House Stud-owned Real Steel in the Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Novice Hurdle.

Only 10th in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle, Valseur Lido made it three wins from four starts this term as he collared the long-time leader at the final flight, going on to score by four and a quarter lengths under Davy Russell.

"It was a good ride from Davy biding his time and I loved the battling qualities of the horse," said Mullins.

"I don't think he'll have a problem with another half mile. He was always a brilliant jumper and he pulled out a lot today and he didn't show that at Cheltenham.

"He'll head to Punchestown. He'll get an entry in everything and he could go over a trip if the ground got better."

Gigginstown had earlier struck with Lieutenant Colonel (5-1), who got the better of Le Vent D'Antan by 10 lengths in the Coolmore N.H. Sires Fame And Glory & Sans Frontieres Novice Hurdle in the hands of Brian O'Connell.

"He's a smashing horse and he ran well in the Neptune at Cheltenham," said winning trainer Dessie Hughes.

"Coming away from Cheltenham we didn't think we'd run him again, but he's done so well physically we said we'd take a chance and he was a better horse today.

"He's only five so we might leave him over hurdles for next year and we've got quite a few to go novice chasing, so we'll give him another year to mature. With his pace, he could run in the better races, something like the Hatton's Grace back here."

Hughes was completing a double having saddled Some Tikket (6-1 favourite) to take the Clarion Hotel Liffey Valley Novice Handicap Chase under Barry Geraghty.

After four wins at the three-day Grand National meeting, Geraghty was triumphant back on home soil to drive Dessie Hughes's charge to a five and a half length verdict over Shamiran.

"He's experienced now and I'd say he'll go for the two-mile-five novice handicap at Punchestown," said the Curragh handler.

Robbie Power successfully deputised on Paul Nolan's Jupitor (16-1) for Mikey Fogarty, who was injured at Aintree on Friday, in the Boylesports Handicap Chase.

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