Willie Mullins’ Quevega led home stalemate Mourad in the feature race on the on the third day of the Punchestown Festival.
7:15 Irish Sun INH Flat Race 2m
Vesper Bell is another well-backed Willie Mullins favourite in the last race on the card.
The finale on the third day of the Punchestown Festival went the way of the mother and daughter partnership of Jessica and Kate Harrington. Burn And Turn saw off Lord Gale and Black Benny in the bumper.
1 Burn And Turn 13/2
2 Lord Gale 14/1
3 Black Benny 25/1
6:40 Ryanair Novice Chase (Grade 1) 2m
English raider and Arkle winner Captain Chris has been hammered in the betting ring, but Realt Dubh, Sualdos and Sweeps Hill should all run big races.
Sweeps Hill is a late withdrawal on veterinary advice.
Captain Chris is a narrow but convincing winner over Realt Dubh.
1 Captain Chris 4/6 Fav
2 Realt Dubh 3/1
6:05 Naas Court Hotel Handicap Hurdle 3m
Charles Byrnes Alfa Beat is the favourite for an ultra-competitive 25-runner handicap hurdle.
Willie Mullins doubles up with Kerb Appeal in a dramatic race. Vics Canvas fell independently on the home bend. The recent rain on the already watered turf may well have compromised the integrity of the racing surface. Interesting to see what, if any, action the stewards take.
1 Kerb Appeal 14/1
2 Rivage D'Or 16/1
3 Define 25/1
4 Saville Row 50/1
5:30 Ladbrokes.com World Series Hurdle (Grade 1)
Trainer Willie Mullins appears to hold all the aces here, with Quevega and Mourad occupying the first two places in the market.
Mares have capitalised on their allowance and boast a good record in this race. Quevega and Voler La Vedette are the only members of the fairer sex lining up here.
Mullins is undoubtedly one of the best trainers this country has ever produced, but his handling of the supremely talented Mikael D’Haguenet has been far from perfect this season.
The talented hurdler was thrown in at the deep end on his chasing debut in the Drinmore Novice Chase last December. Starting a horse’s chase career in a Grade 1 race is a decision fraught with danger. The larger obstacles are jumped at a pace far quicker than in a normal novice chase and it’s a tough spot to train for your new metier. Mikael D’Haguenet came to grief in that race and his jumping since then has been far from satisfactory. His confidence over fences may have been irreparably damaged, but he doesn’t appear a natural jumper of fences anyway. Connections have persisted at the highest level with their charge over fences, but with no success.
This return to hurdle could see him in a better light as his form over timber was top class.
Quevega and Ruby Walsh lead home Mourad and Katie Walsh for a Mullins 1-2. Carlito Brigante claimed third.
Mikael D’Haguenet travelled well for a long way and hit a low of 4-1 in-running before his run petered out late on.
1 Quevega 8/11 Fav
2 Mourad 11/2
3 Carlito Brigante 16/1
The superb Quevega could head for the French Champion Hurdle. She lit up the meeting this afternoon, but it’s a shame her visits to the racecourse are so infrequent (five races in the last two years).
4:50 Avon Ri Corporate & Leisure Resort Chase for the La Touche Cup
Presenter Robert Hall and pundit Robert Hall are attempting to negotiate the cross-country course in a feature on our live television coverage. They’re clambering over banks and leaping obstacles like a couple of Enda Bolger inmates. It’s a fascinating piece, but does descend into Alan Partridge territory at times.
Outlaw Pete, Another Jewel and Let The Show Begin are vying for favouritism in the absence of Garde Champetre.
Another Jewel (10-3) prevails from Let The Show begin in a bobbing finish. John Cullen galvanised his mount to win by a head.
1 Another Jewel 10/3
2 Let The Show Begin 10/3
3 Heads Onthe Ground 11/2
4:15 Kildare Post Handicap Chase 2m
News just reaching us the cross-country favourite Garde Champetre has been withdrawn form the 4:50 on veterinary advice.
The upcoming race is a typically competitive handicap chase. Tom Mullins and Tony McCoy team up with favourite Dr Whizz (7-2).
Willie Mullins saddles second favourite Tawaagg (9-2), while Unhinged (8-1) has seen the form of his most recent start franked.
Willie Mullins saddles second favourite Tawaagg (9-2), while Unhinged (8-1) has seen the form of his most recent start franked. Coscorrig (9-1) comes here bidding for a third win on the trot.
Joint-favourite Dr Whizz survive a slightly sketchy jump at the last to land the spoils.
1 Dr Whizz 7/2 Fav
2 Coscorrig 7/1
3 Battlefront 11/1
3:40 AON Hurdle
Outsider Tornedo Shay (16-1) claimed the opener for Thomond O’Mara and Phillip Enright. Son Amix and Bagber filled the places.
1 Tornedo Shay 16/1
2 Son Amix 7/1
3 Bagber 6/1
The official going is good, good to yielding in places on the chase course, good on the hurdles and bumper course, while the terrain on the cross-country track is listed as firm.
As ever, it’s probably better to rely on race time and jockey comments over the course of the day, rather than the official proclamations from officialdom.