Glory for Barizan at last

Perennial bridesmaid Barizan enjoyed his day in the sun as he gained a deserved Grade One triumph in the Airshow 100 Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown today.

Perennial bridesmaid Barizan enjoyed his day in the sun as he gained a deserved Grade One triumph in the Airshow 100 Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown today.

Evan Williams' youngster went mighty close to springing a surprise in Cheltenham's Triumph Hurdle after setting a scorching gallop, only getting caught late in the day up the punishing hill.

He was second again in the Matalan Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices' Hurdle at Aintree but lining up at his third Festival in little over a month, he came good at the third time of asking with a glorious display.

Sent off at 4-1 in the hands of in-form jockey Jason Maguire, he once again adopted his customary trail-blazing tactics.

Favourite Carlito Brigante sat second for much of the contest but could not reel in Barizan, who kept up the gallop to score by 12 lengths.

"No horse deserves that more than him," said a delighted Williams.

"To have been second in two Grade Ones is not a nice place to be and he was probably as fresh there today as he has ever been.

"I was disappointed for Paul Moloney not to be riding as he had a bump at Uttoxeter during the week.

"He is such a genuine little horse who tries very hard and he seems to enjoy being in front, so there is no point changing tactics.

"They probably went a bit slow at Aintree and the ground might have been against him at Cheltenham.

"To have three races at Cheltenham, Aintree and here in such a short space of time is very tough and he will have a break now and go for all the top hurdle races next season."

Carlito Brigante's trainer Gordon Elliott said: "He ran his heart out and I'm absolutely delighted with him."

Willie Mullins and Paul Townend continued their sensational week as French import Tarla landed the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association Fillies Scheme European Breeders Fund Mares Hurdle.

The four-year-old was sent off the 13-8 favourite in the hands of Paul Townend for this first start on Irish soil and having travelled strongly, she wore down Leblon to score by a cosy half-length.

Mullins said: "My trip to Paris paid off. I went to Paris when Punchestown was called off due to frost here earlier in the year and that's when I bought this filly.

"She has shown us plenty at home and she looked good there. We bought her to go novice chasing but we might have to have a rethink after that.

"She may go to France, she's had a nice break since she came to us."

The quicker ground saw Cuan Na Grai bounce right back to form with an impressive performance in the Eventus Marquees Novice Chase.

Paul Nolan's 2006 Galway Hurdle winner had won just once since turning his attentions to fences but sent off at 11-2 for this competitive heat, he quickened clear in straight to beat Themoonandsixpence by eight lengths.

Nolan said: "I'm delighted to get him back to winning ways as he has had to come back from a few injuries over the years and we take what we can get with him nowadays.

"The ground was too heavy for him at Fairyhouse the last day and Alain sensibly pulled him up - he is a right good horse on that good ground and the Galway Plate and Hurdle are both options during the summer."

Enda Bolger's La Touche Cup runner-up Freneys Well (evens) went one better in the Irish Field Chase

The 10-year-old had chased home stablemate L'Ami over the Banks on Thursday and had little trouble getting his head in front two days later under Nina Carberry.

Bolger said: "I was slightly worried pulling him out again but he has done it easily.

"We're thinking of going to France as they are running a new cross-country series on May 13.

"The race is over four and a half miles and is worth £112,000."

Coolcashin (14-1) struck a blow for Michael Bowe and Tom Doyle in the Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase, narrowly getting the better of Shuil Aris in a tight finish.

"This lad had a bad fracture and suffers from arthritis as a result," said Bowe.

"Edwina Farrell works wonders on him, he wears a magnetic boot and it seems to be doing the trick.

"He has been running on terrible sticky ground all winter. There's a temptation to consider something like the Galway Plate for him now."

Mullins matched his Festival tally of last year as he once again made it an astonishing 12 winners for the week in the Hurdle, Katie Walsh doing the steering as 9-1 chance Dorset Square beat stablemate Deutschland.

"Katie is a tip-top jockey," said Mullins.

"He's not the biggest horse in the world and physically he's not capable of carrying anything over ten stone seven pounds."

Mags Mullins took the Irish Sun INH Flat Race as 7-1 chance Backspin made an impressive racecourse debut in the hands of JT McNamara.

The winning trainer said: "This horse just keeps surprising me, he does whatever we ask of him. He's a serious horse.

"We were going to run him at Gowran Park but I felt the ground was a bit rough for him, so we decided to wait and come here."

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