Posted: 10th Dec 2015
Willie Mullins (left) and Rich Ricci look to have another exciting horsePICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Report: Punchestown, Thursday
Festival Hospitality On Sale Maiden Hurdle 2m2f, 4yo+
MIN was a talking horse before his debut for Willie Mullins, and the French import demonstrated why with a slick and speedy victory that left him as short as 4-1 for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
The four-year-old was beaten in his two French starts for Yannick Fouin, but, having been purchased by Susannah Ricci, there was lots of noise about his ability and on this evidence the Mullins/Ricci axis look to have another potential superstar.
Having already confessed to being fearful of Min before his Irish debut, bookmakers wasted little time in carving his Cheltenham Festival odds following victory. Coral and William Hill halved Min to 4-1 (from 8) and 7-1 is now the best price available with Betfred and Paddy Power.
Last season the Supreme Novices' Hurdle was won by Douvan, and there are plenty of parallels between the two, with both sired by Walk In The Park and purchased by the same connections from France.
Douvan is a two-time winner at Punchestown, with his first win the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle, a race that now looks the next logical option for Min.
Having started prominently in fourth, Ruby Walsh took up the running as the field went past the stands for the first time, and it was a lead that never looked in danger.
Double Island, second in the betting at 7-2, came on the premises before three out, but had no answer when the 4-11 favourite quickened at the final flights.
A ready burst of acceleration between the final two hurdles put the race beyond doubt, and a sharp jump at the last was an emphatic stamp on a 14-length victory.
More to follow . . .
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