Mullins at the double

Local Celebrity and Dr.Machini completed a double for champion trainer Willie Mullins on yesterday’s jumps card in Sligo, the track’s first meeting of the year.

Owned by the TCD Horse Racing Society Club, Local Celebrity landed the Irish Stallion Farms Hurdle under Patrick Mullins, holding the late surge of 6/4 favourite His Excellency by a head.

The winning rider commented: “He’s a fantastic hurdler and his jump at the last probably clinched it. I hope he jumps fences as well. I’d imagine he’ll go chasing sooner rather than later and two miles seems to be his trip.”

Andrew Lynch, no stranger to big-race success in the Sizing Europe colours of Alan and Ann Potts, gave Dr.Machini a confident ride to justify odds-on favouritism and complete the Mullins double in the Guinness Mares Maiden Hurdle.

Having tracked the leaders, Lynch made his move on the inside turning for home and Dr.Machini had the measure of Lough Roe Lady when that rival blundered at the last, affording Shershewill the opportunity to come through and chase home the Mullins mare.

Lynch said: “She finished fifth in a listed mares bumper in Aintree and has bit of class. She jumped reasonably well and should have learned from the experience. So it’s onwards and upwards for her.”

Pickapocketortwo started marginal favourite (over eventual winner Archie Meade) to complete a Mullins treble in the Kennedy’s Bar Hurdle but crashed at the sixth, bringing down McSwynes Bay. Both riders, Patrick Mullins and Ben Dalton, escaped injury.

The well-backed Archie Meade, trained by Malachy Hassett and give a determined front-running ride by Danny Howard, justified strong support, both in the morning and on track, to hold Doctor Deejay by a head.

A delighted Howard explained: “If it wasn’t for this fellow’s owners, I probably wouldn’t be riding. He has been a special horse for me. He stays all day, so I have to make it a real test. He’s very tough and stuck it out well.”

Gordon Elliott introduced an interesting newcomer, Cullentry Royal to justify odds-on favouritism under Nina Carberry in the bumper. his task made easier by the absence of Willie Mullins’ Sizing Tennessee.

Given a confident ride, the Royal Applause gelding travelled strongly throughout but had to be driven out after hitting the front approaching the furlong-pole to beat Derrylea Girl by two lengths. “He’s a nice horse, although still a big baby,” stated Elliott. “Nina said he was very green and was idling in front. He’s a nice prospect and is for sale.”

Paul Carberry continued his rich vein of form when Pat Garrett made all to win the opening maiden hurdle, a rare 20/1 winner for the former champion and trainer Noel Meade.


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