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Review: Saturday's Punchestown card

Updated: Saturday, 17 Nov 2012 17:34 | Comments

Dessie Hughes saddled El Fontan to victory
Dessie Hughes saddled El Fontan to victory

Mikael D'Haguenet snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the Punchestown Gift Vouchers For Christmas Beginners Chase.

Victory looked assured when fellow 5-4 joint-favourite Mount Benbulben came to grief three out, but Mikael D'Haguenet got the second-last wrong and then all but fell when clear at the final fence.

Paul Townend did a remarkable job to stay in the saddle, but 11-1 chance El Fontan went past him and Mikael D'Haguenet couldn't get going again in time, eventually losing by two and three-quarter lengths.

Mikael D'Haguenet's trainer Willie Mullins endured more misery when Simenon finished out of the frame in the Punchestown Annual Membership From 95 Euro Hurdle.

Townend was hard at work on the dual Royal Ascot winner early in the straight and he was already beaten when ploughing through the last, as the Gordon Elliott-trained Un Beau Matin (7-1) registered a two-and-a-half-length verdict.

There was better fortune for fellow classy Flat performer as Dessie Hughes' Minsk made it second-time lucky over timber, seeing off the previously unbeaten Glens Melody - another Mullins runner - by eight and a half lengths as the 4-9 favourite in the www.punchestown.com Maiden Hurdle.

The champion trainer finally got a winner on the board when Clondaw Court created a massive impression in the Racing At Punchestown Tomorrow (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race.

Banks master Enda Bolger won another Crystal Cup Trial Risk Of Thunder Chase, this time courtesy of Arabella Boy (3-1 joint-favourite), who held off a back-to-form Bostons Angel.

Grange continued his upward profile by justifying 7-4 favouritism in the Follow Punchestown On Facebook Novice Handicap Hurdle.

Tarquinius (6-4 favourite) jumped left at times but still managed to win his first race since joining Elliott in the 10 Euro Admission Handicap Chase, but his jockey Davy Condon had to settle for second when Dayrina couldn't match the turn of foot shown by odds-on favourite Money Spider in the Ballymore GAA Christmas Fair & Family Fun Day 3-Y-O Hurdle.

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