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Punchestown News

Punchestown News: Cheltenham Festival: Limini far too good in Mares' Novices'

Posted: 17th Mar 2016


Limini surges away from her rivals for a dominant victory

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)  

Cheltenham Festival: Limini far too good in Mares' Novices'

Report: Cheltenham, Thursday

Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Registered As Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle) (Grade 2) 2m179y, 4yo+

LIMINI became the third Rich Ricci-owned mare to win at her leisure this week as she absolutely bolted up in the inaugural running of the race.

Ruby Walsh rode the mare like she was a special horse and so it proved, as she cruised into contention on the approach to the turn for home before ending the race as a contest after jumping the last.

The win was the third of the day for Walsh and trainer Willie Mullins and the second for Ricci, following the similarly dominant success of Vautour earlier on Thursday.

It also followed the impressive wins by Annie Power in the Stan James Champion Hurdle and Vroum Vroum Mag in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle on Tuesday.

No secret

Rich Ricci was accused of misleading punters earlier in the week when switching Vautour from the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup to the Ryanair Chase but the same accusation could not be levelled at the former investment banker in regards to Limini.

For weeks, Ricci has been describing Limini as his banker of the week and those who availed themselves of the skinny prices on offer on Thursday (she was sent off 8-11) never had a moment of doubt.

Flat options to consider

Ruby Walsh could barely contain his delight after the race, with the twinkle in his eye suggesting he took a tremendous amount of pleasure from the win.

The festival's leading jockey also tantalisingly suggested connections could look to exploit the mare's lenient handicap mark on the Flat.

"She travelled well and she jumped well," he said.

"I didn't really get her settled until the top of the hill but I'd imagine there's a big Flat race for her off 89!"

Walsh said the quality of Limini's homework had been such that defeat was almost out of the questions, adding: "She was given as the banker a long time ago and she's a very talented, high-class filly.

"All we had to do was iron out a bit of jumping with her and she schooled really well the last fortnight. She was really slick today.

"She's a straightforward filly. She swished her tail a bit today, I don't know why because that wouldn't be like her. She's just deadly.

"If she had got beaten, it wasn't going to make sense. Her work was very good with some talented individuals."

Mullins equally thrilled

Expanding on Walsh's comments regarding a Flat campaign, Mullins suggested the 2m4f Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting is now on the radar.

Mullins took the race last year with Clondaw Warrior and in 2012 with Simenon and the champion trainer said: "It looked like she enjoyed the ground. The Ascot Stakes would look a nice target but we will look at Liverpool, Punchestown or maybe both."

The trainer, who has now trained seven winners so far this week, admitted to having been concerned about Limini's jumping but said: "Every time we work her at home, she shows us she's a good mare.

"Her jumping has improved all the time and I thought she was slick enough today on only her third run.

"She's plenty of stamina and lots of speed. The only thing I was worried about was her jumping but she did it easily enough."

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