Willie Mullins added to a terrific a weekend when Twinlight was far too good for his rivals in the Grade 2 Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase at Cork yesterday.
Essentially, he travelled at not much than half speed through the contest for Paul Townend and it always looked a matter of when the pilot pressed the button.
Townend asked Twinlight to lead well before the third last and the prize was already in safe keeping when his nearest pursuer, Foildubh, departed at this fence.
Commented Townend: “He improved from the last day at Naas and did what we expected him to do.
“He’s a free-going sort, but wasn’t stopping. This is an exciting horse and a couple of avenues are open to him.”
Earlier in the day Mullins and Townend combined with Rathvinden, he created a very favourable impression when winning a bumper on this track previously, who toyed with the opposition on the way to landing the Charleville Cheese Maiden Hurdle.
He won in the proverbial canter, by 11 lengths, and that was a fair effort, considering his jumping was moderate, at least in the first half of the contest. But Rathvinden gradually warmed to the task, cruised into the lead shortly after three out and eased away to score with his head in his chest.
The unfortunate Mark Enright, relatively recently returned from long-term injury, took a fall from Barack and suffered a broken collarbone.
For Mullins, making his way home from Hong Kong, where his Simenon finished an honourable fifth, it was yet another amazing couple of days.
He had four winners at Navan on Saturday and one at Aintree. A double at Cork and two more at Punchestown took his tally for the two days to nine.
Michael Hourigan, who was 66 years-of-age yesterday, celebrated in style when saddling The Job Is Right to take the Grade 3 Kerry Group Stayers’ Novice Hurdle.
The progressive five-year-old certainly lived up to his name, finding plenty for Adrian Heskin to beat Band Of Blood.
The pair were in the air together at the final flight, but The Job Is Right buckled down in style to power away from his rivals and win with plenty in hand.
“It’s the first time he’s got his trip (three miles), he’s a fair horse”! reported Hourigan.
“I have the four-mile at Cheltenham in mind. I school him a lot, he has plenty done.” In the short-term, the winner is likely to head to Limerick at Christmas.
The other Grade 3 on the card, the Kerry Group EBF Mares’ Novice Chase, was won in game fashion by Eddie Harty’s Dressedtothenines.
Kates Benefit looked the likely winner for most of the straight, but ran down the last two obstacles and Dresssedtothenines was the stronger from the back of the final fence.
“She got there in the end”, said a relieved Harty. “Two miles and a furlong would be very sharp for her. It is a nice prize to win, but I won’t be getting carried away.”
Montys Meadow, trained by Jimmy Mangan and partnered by his daughter, Jane, kicked away under three furlongs down to easily take the Bumper.
“He’s related to Montys Pass”, said Mangan senior. “He will go for another bumper, is a bit backward, but coming on in leaps and bounds.”
Paul Nolan’s Dick Dundee, running off a mark 38lbs below his rating over fences, took the Low Low Handicap Hurdle in the hands of Mikey Fogarty.
He didn’t, however, win with anything like that in hand, having to be hard driven by Fogarty from the last to beat Never Enough Time by a length and a quarter.
“He’s back after two awful falls over fences and jumped well for a horse that has been chasing for months”, said Nolan.
Tidy Zag skipped on for Andrew McNamara early in the straight, in the Kerrymaid Novice Hurdle, to score with lots in reserve, despite being quite awkward at the last.
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