Gitane Du Berlais ran her rivals ragged as she made all the running to win unchallenged in the Prix Juigne at Auteuil yesterday.
The French-bred mare, trained by Willie Mullins, soon built-up a long lead under Jacques Ricou and though that was reduced in the closing stages, she never looked like being caught.
Gitane Du Berlais had won the Grade One Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown on her previous start and, sent off the 15-8 favourite, she followed up with the minimum of fuss in this Grade Three hurdle over two and a quarter miles.
Dos Santos was second ahead of Nando in third.
Gordon Elliott’s Bayan, the other Irish-trained runner, had every chance but faded into sixth.
Mullins said: “I was more surprised what she did in the Scilly Isles than that. We thought after Sandown we’d go to France as it was the start of the Auteuil season so we might have an edge on race fitness.
“When we looked at what we would have to do to win a good prize in Cheltenham this looked a nice option.
“It was either go to Auteuil or to Naas or to Cheltenham. She won’t go to Cheltenham, she’ll go to Fairyhouse for the Ryanair Gold Cup. That’s her next target.”
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