Jessie has Mullins in Dreamland

Jessies Dream gave the irresistible combination of Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh another Festival winner with an impressive display in the AON Insurances Hurdle at Punchestown today.

The six-year-old was sent off the 2-1 favourite, having made a winning debut over obstacles at Thurles in February, and travelled strongly throughout the two-and-a-half-mile contest.

Produced to lead soon after turning for home, the chestnut was far from convincing at the final obstacle, but stayed on strongly on the run-in to score by four lengths from Noble Prince.

Mullins said: "He is improving all of the time and Ruby gave him a great ride.

"They went a fast gallop which suited him as it allowed him to settle.

"He will go novice chasing next season but there is a chance he could run again before finishing for the summer, if I can find a race."

Paul Stafford's Blueberry Boy sprang a surprise in the Irish Sun Handicap Chase - on what was his first outing under Rules in over a year.

The 10-year-old was sent off at 16-1 to secure his first success since November 2006, but travelled nicely into the lead when turning for home under Conor Maxwell.

Hairy Molly loomed up as a danger halfway up the straight, but Maxwell always appeared confident.

He only had to push out his mount to score by four lengths.

Stafford said: "He disappointed last year and we didn't know why, so we gave him a good time off.

"The intention was to go point-to-pointing but he doesn't really get home over three miles, so we had to come here.

"He does run well fresh, but we were worried about the ground."

Garde Champetre gave cross-country king Enda Bolger yet another success over the banks with a comfortable victory in the Avon Ri Corporate & Leisure Resort Chase.

The 10-year-old was a 13-8 chance to bounce back from a disappointing effort in the Irish Grand National, and was always travelling ominously well in the hands of regular pilot Nina Carberry.

Gordon Elliott's 2007 Aintree Grand National winner Silver Birch led the field into the straight but Carberry sat motionless on Garde Champetre, who quickened away to win the La Touche Cup by two lengths.

Bolger said: "I thought he was slightly under the cosh three out, but his class has shone through in the end.

"Nina said she almost got to the front too soon, and he is a great jumper of the cross-country fences.

"He has won here before but never won a La Touche Cup - please God, it will be more of the same next year."

Square Sphere benefited from a power-packed ride from Davy Russell to get up within the dying strides of the Naas Court Hotel Handicap Hurdle.

Joint-top-weight Rocco's Hall looked like landing top honours when cruising to the front on the swing for home, but Robert Tyner's 7-1 shot was switched to the rail to challenge after jumping the final obstacle.

The former still held a narrow advantage as the duo touched down after the last, but Square Sphere gradually wore him down to score by a neck.

Russell said: "She battled well and is such a tough little filly.

"She only had 10st 10lb on her back, which is a light weight, and she is a winter mare who loves heavy ground.

"She took off after jumping the last and rallied all of the way to line.

"She only got on top in the last 50 yards and ground it out well."

Mullins added to his Punchestown tally when Barker emerged a wide-margin winner of the Cathal Ryan Memorial Swordlestown Cup Novice Chase.

The eight-year-old was only beaten a short head by Aran Concerto in the Powers Gold Cup last time, and was sent off at 11-2 to go one place better.

Davy Casey settled his mount just off the early pace set by Tatenen, but stretched away before the turn for home.

Last month's Arkle Trophy winner Forpadydeplasterer (15-8 favourite) went in pursuit up the home straight, but lost all chance with a bad mistake at the second-last.

That enabled Barker to come home 15 lengths clear in the Grade One contest.

Mullins said: "I was worried coming here that two miles was going to be too sharp.

"After Fairyhouse, I had been considering stepping him up to three miles, rather than dropping back in trip.

"His jumping is spectacular and his jumping took him into the lead.

"He is an improving horse and the way he jumps, anything is possible.

"I wasn't thinking about the Queen Mother Champion Chase for next season, but after that I will have to consider it."

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