Mullins Gets Revs Up With Punchestown Double
Voix Du Reve produced a career best effort while maintaining his 100 per cent unbeaten record over fences in the Betway Craddockstown Novice Chase at Punchestown on Saturday.
Champion trainer Willie Mullins enjoyed a big race double at the Kildare track with the high class Stormy Ireland later winning the Frontline Security Grabel Mares Hurdle.
Paul Townend made all the running on Voix Du Reve who was sent off the 6/4 favourite for the feature Grade 2 contest at Punchestown and pulled clear in the straight to record a seven length success from Hardline.
“Paul said he wasn’t quite as sharp as he was in Galway but the bigger fences and the bigger track probably made the difference,” said Mullins. “I would imagine we’ll look for something at Christmas, probably at Leopardstown to keep him on that nicer ground and I’ll try to keep him to that kind of trip.”
Just over an hour later Stormy Ireland made most of the running under Ruby Walsh in the Frontline Security Grabel Mares Hurdle to start off her winter campaign in good style.
The four-year-old was a facile winner against her older rivals but was sent for home at the second last hurdle and drew away from all challengers before safely negotiating the final hurdle.
Mullins saddled the first three home in the race with Good Thyne Tara and Ria D’etel taking most of the minor honours.
“She seems to have improved hugely from last season,” commented the winning trainer. “I think she’ll improve and we’ll try to plan for the future with her now. She’s only four so I’m trying to figure out what race she’ll go for next. I would think we will keep her to mares races.”
Ben Dundee put in a flawless round of jumping to win the Ecocup Ireland Beginners Chase to instigate a Punchestown treble for Gordon Elliott.
The Goffs Land Rover Bumper winner Commander Of Fleet began his career over hurdles by easily accounting for his rivals in the Kildare Now Maiden Hurdle at odds of 1/5 before Commander Of Fleet’s rider Davy Russell doubled up to win the Free Festival Upgrade Novice Handicap Hurdle on Elliott’s Star Maker.
Jessica Harrington won the opening Sanctuary Synthetics 3-Y-O Hurdle with the progressive Got Trumped who is now bound for Leopardstown at Christmas.
The Goffs Pro/Am Flat Race went the way of Joseph O’Brien-trained Chead Solas who looks to have a bright future and the concluding Up The Yard Challenge Race for stable staff was won by Gordon Elliott’s travelling head lass Camilla Sharples who partnered Markhan to a popular success.
Racing returns to Punchestown on Sunday with the Unibet Morgiana Hurdle the feature race on the card with Grade 1 winners Faugheen, Samcro, Supasundae and Wicklow Brave among six runners declared to meet in a thrilling renewal of this €100,000 Grade 1 contest.