The Willie Mullins-trained Morning Run retained her unbeaten record when justifying odds-on favouritism in the Follow Tipperary Races On Facebook Mares Maiden Hurdle in Tipperary yesterday, sparking a double for trainer Willie Mullins.
The unbeaten triple bumper-winner was sent off at 4/9 to make a winning start over hurdles and, after a mistake at the first, warmed to her task, on the heels of the leaders before making her move with Louise Royale turning for home.
Shaken up briefly by Ruby Walsh, Morning Run asserted between the last two flights and stayed on strongly to triumph by three and a quarter lengths, giving Ruby (“she was quite keen but did it well”) his second win, from as many rides, since his comeback on Sunday.
“It’s great to get that out of the way,” said Patrick Mullins. “It was a good experience for her - they went a right good gallop and she jumped well, except for the first. So she should learn a lot. I’m not sure about plans, but she could go for the graded mares race in Down Royal.”
Patrick was on board chasing debutant Perfect Gentleman in the www.tipperaryraces.ie Beginners Chase and, having tracked the leaders, had stretched eight lengths clear of Bridgets Pet when that rival took a tired fall at the final fence, leaving the 11/10 favourite to beat longtime leader Vics Canvas by 13 lengths.
“He was a bit slow over the first, which was no harm but, overall, he jumped great,” explained Mullins. “He should be a better chaser than hurdler. He wants good ground and a trip and jumps well, so he could be a horse for the four-miler at Cheltenham.”
Patrick completed a double when partnering the strapping five-year-old Roi Des Francs, trained by his uncle Tony (who is currently in China), to win the bumper, the Season Finale Flat Race.
Mullins kept wide throughout and, in the closing stages, the 5/2 shot was always keeping the Nina Carberry-ridden Gaius Marius at bay.
Mullins stated: “He was very weak last year and Tony did the right thing giving him plenty of time. He’s a grand horse, a real stayer and not really a bumper horse. He should make a lovely two and a half mile or three-mile chaser in time.”
Raised 11lb. for a recent win in Downpatrick, the Colin McBratney-trained Obispo, ridden again by Adrian Heskin, produced a similarly emphatic display to land the Tipperary Handicap Chase with the minimum of fuss.
The hooded eight-year-old jumped into the lead at the third last and won, eased down, by eight and a half lengths, prompting winning trainer McBratney to comment: “He loves fences - he attacks them and jumps fantastic. There’s a novice handicap in Ayr in three weeks and we might head there.”
Co Galway trainer Paul Gilligan enjoyed a welcome success when Andrew Lynch guided 3/1 favourite Fruits Of Molly to a convincing 13 lengths win in the Join The Tipperary Supporters Club Maiden Hurdle, from which the three JP McManus-owned horses were withdrawn due to “a change in ground conditions.”.
“That was well-deserved,” stated Gilligan. “I’m delighted for his owners, a syndicate from Clare and Galway - he’s their first horse. He would prefer more of an ease and will go for a novice somewhere. We could travel with him.”
The meeting produced a couple of major shocks, notably the last-gasp victory of the Paul Stafford-trained Better B Quick in the Schooling At Tipperary Beginners Chase.
The 50/1 shot, a first winner for Ger Fox since his return from injury, looked well held, six lengths behind front-runner Ballinard Billy (Jonathan Burke) nearing the final fence. But the leader wilted on the run-in. And Better B Quick stayed on to snatch the spoils close home.
“That was a bit unexpected, but we were waiting for that ground,” admitted trainer Stafford. “He didn’t let himself down in Ballinrobe the last day and today’s ground walked a little bit quicker than it was. I have no plans - he’ll probably go for a handicap.”
The other shock came when Cool Oscar, trained near Toomevara by Paddy Hogan, bolted-up under Paul Townend in the three-mile Costellos Tavern Handicap Hurdle. """"
* The Tony Martin-trained Delvin Road was the subject of a ‘running and riding’ enquiry following the second maiden hurdle.
Having heard evidence from Martin and 7lb. claimer Simon Torrens, who rode the six-year-old, the stewards felt that Torrens had made insufficient effort and banned him for 14 days.
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