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Champion trainer Willie Mullins rounds off the Punchestown Festival with a Grade 1 double

Updated: Saturday, 27 Apr 2013 19:05 | Comments

Glens Melody (Paul Townend) shows a neat technique over the last hurdle in the Grade 1 Mares' Hurdle
Glens Melody (Paul Townend) shows a neat technique over the last hurdle in the Grade 1 Mares' Hurdle

Willie Mullins celebrated winning the trainers' championship again with a hat-trick including a Grade One double on the final day of the jumps season at Punchestown.

The County Carlow handler saddled four of the six runners in the AES Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle and just to emphasise his domination, they occupied the first four finishing positions.

Ruby Walsh led all the way on evens favourite Diakali and had enough up his sleeve when Blood Cotil attacked at the final flight to run on strongly for a two-length victory, with Dogora third and Djakadam fourth.

Mullins was following up the Grade One success of Glens Melody (7-2), who produced a smart turn of foot to take the ITBA Fillies Scheme EBF Mares Hurdle, with odds-on stablemate Tarla unplaced.

Paul Townend was content to sit third as British challenger Swincombe Flame took them along, but he made a decisive move between the final two flights to put the race to bed before beating Shadow Eile by two and a quarter lengths.

Mullins' third winner was The Paparrazi Kid (7-1), who was delivered with a late challenge up the inside by Walsh to beat Rathlin by half a length in the Setanta Sports Handicap Hurdle.

It wasn't all plain sailing for the trainer, however, as he couldn't win the Madra Irish Dog Foods Novice Chase even though defections meant he saddled two of the three runners, with Richard Lee landing the prize with British raider Grey Gold.

Brian Cooper jumped into the lead three out on the 6-1 chance and after the odds-on Mikael D'Haguenet faded away, Aupcharlie came to challenge but made a bad error two out and an even worse one at the last, where he fell. The winner coasted in by 37 lengths.

The Irish Field Chase over the banks course produced a thrilling finish and was won by Henry de Bromhead's Sizing Australia (12-1), who was kept going by Andrew Lynch to hold the late surge of Tuesday's winner Zest For Life by a short head.

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