Mullins continues terrific campaign with treble

WILLIE MULLINS continued his terrific campaign when landing a treble at Clonmel yesterday.

The champion trainer missed the meeting, however, having instead attended the funeral of 21-year-old Ronan Lawlor, tragically killed at fellow trainer, Pat Fahy’s, on Tuesday.

The most impressive of Mullins’ was Quiscover Fontaine, who produced a magical round of jumping to take the Powerstown Chase.

He winged his obstacles and had taken the measure of trail-blazing Whatuthink when that one departed at the second last.

Quiscover Fontaine then powered clear to beat Swift Counsel unextended by a whopping 17 lengths.

Mullins was represented by Brendan Doyle, who is a part-owner of the six-year-old. Said Doyle: “He’s in the Arkle and the SunAlliance at Cheltenham and, knowing Willie, will stay in both until the forfeit stage.

“The race I have my eye on is the Hugh McMahon at Limerick and there’s another at Leopardstown for him. He’s a progressive horse and loves this game.”

Emmet Mullins partnered Quiscover Fontaine and completed a double aboard his uncle Willie’s The Midnight Club in the Kilsheelan Beginners Chase.

The nine-year-old had been a bit disappointing since going over fences, but a dramatic change of tactics worked the oracle.

Normally a hold-up horse, he made the running, jumped superbly and forged nicely clear from the second last.

For Emmet Mullins it was a particularly poignant afternoon. He was one of Lawlor’s best friends and was part of a guard of honour at the funeral, before having to leave to meet his commitments at Clonmel.

Said Mullins: “I’m sure he was looking down on me and I want to dedicate both of these wins to him.

“He would have got as big a kick out of this as I did. After Quiscover Fontaine, it really hit me.”

Willie Mullins’ Some Target got the full Ruby Walsh treatment to justify favouritism in the Demense Maiden Hurdle.

Everything appeared to be going to plan when the 8-13 shot eased past front-running Fennis Boy two out.

But Fennis Boy wouldn’t go away and Walsh had to get more than serious with his charge on the run in to land him a length and a quarter winner.

Commented Walsh: “He jumped super and kept pulling it out.”

Gates Of Rome, a little uneasy in the market, could hardly have won the Clonmel Maiden Hurdle any easier.

Taken to the front off the home turn, the winner stretched right away for Davy Russell to score by 19 lengths.

Trainer, Colm Murphy, said: “We won’t be aiming too high and will look at a little winners’ of one or else see what the handicapper does.”

Sean McDermott, stood down after taking a fall in the first, missed a winner when Knockbrack Vic took the Ballypatrick Handicap Hurdle.

Eddie Power proved a more than able replacement, giving the John Joe Walsh trained mare a strong drive.

The winner and Whatsabillion had a real tussle up the straight, with Knockbrack Vic showing the greater resolution to win by half a length.

The stewards called an inquiry into some close riding between the principals, but it was a waste of time because there was never the remotest possibility of a change in the placings.

Reported Walsh: “She stays like hell, goes on the ground and will now head for a similar handicap.”

Colls Corner, trained by Michael Barry at Fermoy, dug deep for John Allen to take the Lisronagh Novice Chase.

He made virtually all and, despite hitting two out hard, rallied in fine style to run clear of Gentleman Jim.

“He’s tough and could come back here on Sunday week for another handicap”, said Barry.

Hot Or What, a well beaten fourth behind Hidden Crack on the track previously, got back on the winning trail in the Suir Handicap Hurdle.

Michael Fogarty had the ride and was seen to advantage, driving the mare out to beat top weight, Matchbook, by three lengths.

David Fehily, who partnered Matchbook, was found guilty of using his whip improperly and with excessive frequency.

The stewards took his inexperience into account, but he was suspended for seven days and advised to attend RACE for a day’s tuition.

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