The champion combination struck with Daisy’s Gift and four-year-old French import Crack Tiepy, from the family of Pomme Tiepy, a five-time winner for Mullins, who made a promising Irish debut in the Slaney Hurdle.
Receiving weight from her six rivals and confidently handled by Walsh, Crack Tiepy stalked the leaders before pouncing at the second last and staying on to beat the Gordon Elliott-trained pair Moonshine Lad and Babbela Boy in emphatic style.
In the absence of the winning trainer, Walsh said: “It’s a big help when you’re getting 17lbs. It’s a huge pull and she availed of all the allowances.”
He added: “She had plenty of experience in France, including a couple of runs over fences, and knew her job. I don’t know where Willie will go with her now but, if she ends up winning half the races Pomme Tiepy won, we’ll be happy enough.”
The Closutton double was completed when Daisy’s Gift, disappointing in her two initial excursions over fences, came from off the pace to foil Keppols Queen readily in the Irish Stallion Farms Mares Beginners Chase.
Favourite Slowmotion fell at the first in a race run at a strong pace.
Walsh crept into contention from the fourth last before Daisy’s Gift asserted between the last two fences for a clear-cut win.
The jockey said: “She fell first time in Kilbeggan and got a fright. And she was very, very careful the next day in Galway. So it was a case of back to the drawing-board with her.
“But she had a nice run over hurdles, against Airlie Beach, in Gowran, and has done a lot of schooling since then. Our priority today was to get around. And it suited when they went such a strong pace and made it a test of stamina.”
The opening mares maiden hurdle produced a tremendous finish as Forge Meadow, ridden for Jessica Harrington by Robbie Power, edged out another hurdling debutante, Toe The Line, and Theatre Dreams.
Winning trainer Harrington said: “It was her first run over hurdles so it was a good performance. She was fresh and well and a bit keen in the race, but she jumped great. She’s a very gutsy filly and obviously goes in heavy ground. She’s in the Royal Bond and will probably end up going there — she’ll be getting the 7lbs mares allowance.”
Gordon Elliott followed up his three winners on Sunday when saddling Sutton Manor, in the Gigginstown House Stud colours, to open his hurdling account, at the second attempt, in the Supporters Club AGM Maiden Hurdle.
Ridden prominently by Bryan Cooper, the five-year-old edged ahead on the home-turn before staying on strongly to beat Nanny Stone by five and a half lengths.
Elliott said: “It probably wasn’t the strongest race in the world, but he won it grand. This is only his second run for me and I don’t know a lot about him, but he was a big, weak horse and just needed time. He’ll step up in trip now, to three miles, and will be a grand horse over a fence in time.”
The concluding Rosslare Hunters Chase went to David Christie’s Maple Mons, the joint top point-to-point mare last season making her breakthrough on the racecourse.
Ridden by Richie Deegan, she battled tenaciously to hold favourite Sizingdowntherhine and Jamie Codd by a half-length.
“She’s some mare,” declared Christie. “This was the plan — this is her last season and we wanted to win with her on the track. We got a great buzz when she was joint top mare last season. We’ll tip away with her now — she’ll probably go to Lisronagh, where she won last year, in 10 days. After that, we’ll leave her off until the new year and, at the end of the point-to-point season, she’ll come back to the track.”
The progressive Cloudy Morning completed a hat-trick when landing the Loch Garman Handicap Hurdle for Declan Queally and 7lbs claimer Barry Browne and will now head for another three-mile handicap, at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting, off a low-weight.
Aengus King intends giving Capture The Drama a break following his gutsy all-the-way victory, under an expertly-judged ride by Mark Walsh, in the Selskar Handicap Chase.
King admitted: “We’re surprising ourselves at this stage. He had lots of problems after he won his point-to-point and has had two wind operations. I had no work rider back in January and started riding him myself — I’ve managed to lose four stone and he has now won four times this year. He deserves a break.”