All of Willie Mullins’ big guns are waiting in the wings for Cheltenham, but it makes no difference to a trainer who simply has a wealth of talent at his disposal.
At Clonmel yesterday Mullins’ Don Poli, fresh from winning what looked a modest maiden at Thurles, landed the Grade 3 Surehaul Mercedes-Benz Novice Hurdle.
Bryan Cooper was in the plate and he produced the Gigginstown Stud House-owned gelding to lead going to the second last.
Don Poli soon powered on, crossing the line nicely clear of Goonyella and Seskinane. “He appreciated the trip (three miles) and the testing conditions and we will be staying in that area for the rest of the season”, reported Mullins.
“He’s a lazy horse, Bryan had to give him a crack first time round, and, I’d imagine, is a chaser in the making.”
Gordon Elliott’s Moonshine Lad went off favourite, but ran no sort of race and was struggling badly when pulled up after the fifth last by Paul Carberry.
The horse was subsequently found to be post-race normal, with Carberry reporting that his mount didn’t handle the ground.
Elliott’s other runner, Double Irish, so impressive at Leopardstown previously, was beaten in fourth when falling at the final flight.
Christy Roche’s Indian File was the one most punters seemed to want to be with in the Munster Hurdle, but he was beaten early in the straight, after attempting to make all.
Coming away from the second last Patrick Mullins sent Perfect Gentleman, initiating a double for his father, Willie, to the front and he eased away to easily beat Our Katie.
Commented Patrick: “He was unlucky in his last two runs, he should have won at Thurles the last day.
“What he wants is three miles, on good ground, and I’m really looking forward to riding him over fences, if he’s not sold.”
Rodger Sweeney confirmed that his stable star, the dual Cheltenham Foxhunter hero Salsify, will miss the rest of the season, after his Daliyan had cruised to victory in the Clonmel Maiden Hurdle.
Partnered by Sweeney’s son, Colman, Daliyan landed in front over two out to comfortably cope with market rival, Desertmore Stream.
Said Sweeney senior: “He did that nicely, it is nice too have a winner with the other horse knocked out. He will probably go for a novice hurdle now.”
Desertmore Stream is trained by Philip Fenton, who was on track to see his charge in action, after having his case for the possession of anabolic steroids adjourned earlier in the day at Carrick-On-Suir.
Liz Doyle was under no illusions as to the quality of her Snowell, after he had cleared away from his field, in the hands of Jonathan Burke, in the Bishop Auckland Theatre Hooligans Handicap Hurdle.
“He’s an 82 horse, that’s him, if it was ever going to happen it was today”, said Doyle.
“His mother had only one eye and, for some reason, we ran him in a point-to-point and he broke my collarbone and shoulder.”
Gordon Elliott was lavish in his praise of Nina Carberry, after she produced the hitherto disappointing Drunken Counsel with a smooth challenge to beat Willie Mullins’ Most Peculiar by four lengths in the Bumper.
“That horse is definitely not straightforward, Nina was brilliant”, exclaimed Elliott.
The Demesne Maiden Hurdle, a very poor contest, went to the Michael Darcy ridden Claire Pet.
Darcy made his move going to the second last and Claire Pet found enough to beat Corporate Box snugly.
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