The seven-year-old, formerly trained by Pat Hughes and owned by Mullins’ neighbour Mary Greene, proved a 14/1 shocker in the Poulboy Handicap Hurdle, under a confident ride by in-form Tommy Treacy, who has been associated with the Mullins family for most of his career.
Gerard Mullins, nephew of the legendary Paddy, trains only a small string and is best known as owner of the Duninga Gallops in Co Kilkenny.
In the absence of Cuan Na Grai, the Willie Mullins-trained Red Vinto was sent off a hot favourite for the Hyundai Sonata Novice Chase. But David Casey’s mount could finish only fourth behind shock all-the-way winner The Tin Soldier.
Winner of a point-to-point at Lingstown in March, one of only two completions from seven outings in that sphere, the Eddie Power-ridden The Tin Soldier stayed on to beat Kong and Toby Jug, giving Brian Jordan, based in Kilmore Quay, his first success under rules.
Jockey Tom Doyle and a bunch of his pals from Inistioge, Co Kilkenny who comprise the Batteriesnotincluded Syndicate, had cause for celebration after Benny’s Quest got off the mark in the Cahir Motor Company Hyundai Handicap Hurdle.
The tough six-year-old had to battle hard to hold the challenge of course and distance winner Joys Island, prompting trainer Colm Murphy to comment: “He’s a tough little horse and deserved that. He’s the first winner I’ve trained for the lads, all mates of Tom’s.”
Doyle’s boss Michael Hourigan was on the mark later when Paddy Flood brought Moscow Mo Chuisle with a well-timed challenge to foil Air Of Confusion in the Thorney Bridge Handicap Chase, recording a shock 14/1 win.
Earlier, another Co Wexford yard, Paul Nolan’s, was on the mark when Run For Charlie, confidently handled by Alain Cawley, landed the opening Killenaule Maiden Hurdle at the expense of Peppermill.
Nolan was not present, but his brother James said, “He was unlucky not to win a bumper and deserved that. Stepping-up in trip probably helped him. And he likes quick ground. He’ll go handicapping now. Pat O’Loughlin owns him and his wife Susan came to see him run for the first time today. She must have brought us luck!”
Having his first run over timber in over a year, Akinspirit justified favouritism for trainer Mick Butler and Carlow owner Fred Salter in the Knocklofty Maiden Hurdle.
Johnny Allen rode the Invincible Spirit gelding with confidence throughout but, on the run-in, had to get serious to see off the persistent effort of Karaking by a length.
And the bumper went to the Walsh family as Pretty Valira, trained by Ted and ridden by daughter Katie, landed the spoils at the expense of the Nina Carberry-ridden favourite Granaruid. The winner, a Kling’s Theatre mare owned by Seamus Ross, was having her first run since making her debut at Dundalk in February.