The experienced, 137-rated Away We Go saw off novices Pageboy and Cailin Annamh by three-quarters of a length and the same in the Follow Punchestown On Facebook Chase, prompting winning rider Paul Townend, to explain: “We were in front a bit soon, but I had to take the run when I got it.”
Winning trainer Willie Mullins later stated: “He’s a good ground horse and it was good to get him back to the winner’s enclosure. We’ll keep him going for the summer and the Galway Plate and Kerry National will be the plan.”
The champion trainer, who confirmed a five-strong raiding party for Auteuil on Sunday, with Ruby Walsh set to ride Diakali and Abbyssial, completed a double when Patrick produced odds-on favourite Totally Dominant with a powerful late challenge to land the bumper, prompting the trainer to suggest: “He has a lot of ability that he keeps to himself I think, but he did it when Patrick got serious with him.”
Long odds-on favourite Art Of Logistics struggled to follow-up a recent handicap success on this track in the four-runner €10 Admission Rated Chase.
Mark Enright’s mount, a red-hot 2/9 shot, appeared to labour in ground described as “good to yielding” and survived a bad mistake five from home before coming through to foil Loosen My Load by a length with longtime leader Back To Balloo third.
“The ground was a bit dead for him, but he got there under sufferance,” commented trainer Dessie Hughes, who added: “We’ll freshen him up and then head for the Galway Plate, but the ground would want to be quick for him to run there.”
Paul Townend, successful on Away We Go, completed a double when Elsie, trained by Tom Mullins, justified 7/4 favouritism in the Panoramic Restaurant Mares Maiden Hurdle, proving six lengths superior to Molly Connors.
“Little did I think when she won her bumper here that we’d be waiting this long for a maiden hurdle,” said Mullins. “We’ll keep battling with her for the summer. There’s no plan — we could look at another mares race and then go handicapping. She could jump a fence or we might go for a flat maiden with her — her Dam Notcomplainingbut won the Carling Gold Cup in Tralee (in 1996),”
Also in double form — for Gigginstown House Stud — was Brian O’Connell who scored on the Gordon Elliott-trained Cape Glory in the Festival Dreams Maiden Hurdle and Desertmore Stream, trained by Philip Fenton, in the Punchestown Handicap Hurdle.