Jockey David Mullins with the Thyestes Cup
Twenty-five years after his father Harry won the big race of the year at Gowran Park with the Jason Titley-ridden Grand Habit, Henry de Bromhead won his first Goffs Thyestes Chase with Champagne West.
With David Mullins in the saddle, the 7/1 chance had the race in safe keeping between the final two fences and was a clear-cut winner at the line and his possible targets include the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March.
De Bromhead and David Mullins had earlier taken the 2m handicap hurdle with 9/2 favourite Adreamstillalive who was almost as impressive as the big race winner.
The remainder of the meeting belonged to Willie Mullins who saddled four winners for four different jockeys, not including Ruby Walsh!
Bon Papa, a 1/5 favourite, took the opening maiden hurdle in the hands of Barry Geraghty while Shaneshill, ridden by Paul Townend was a gutsy winner of the Grade 2 John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle.
Jody McGarvey rode his first winner for the champion trainer when 3/1 shot Great Field impressed in the beginners’ chase. Patrick Mullins partnered 1/10 favourite Getabird, the early Cheltenham Bumper market leader, to success in the PJ Foley Memorial INH Flat Race.
de Bromhead dominates
Henry de Bromhead added to his Thyestes Chase success with a Grade 1 double at Leopardstown on Sunday.
He combined with Davy Russell to win the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase with 100/30 chance Some Plan, who was left to come home alone when leader Royal Caviar fell at the final fence.
He landed an even bigger prize when 9/10 favourite Petit Mouchoir made much of the running under David Mullins to win the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle, a second success in the race for the Waterford trainer who had previously won with Sizing Europe in 2008.
Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh landed the Grade 2 novice hurdle with the hugely impressive Let’s Dance who easily brushed aside the boys and has a number of options at the Cheltenham Festival.
Mullins and Walsh had earlier taken the maiden hurdle with 4/9 favourite Melon who looks to have the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham as a target.
Gavin Cromwell and Jack Kennedy won the 2m1f handicap chase with 6/1 shot Elusive Ivy while the 2m5f handicap chase went to 9/2 shot Katnap who was ridden for Joseph O’Brien by J.J. Slevin.
Debuchet, a 13/8 joint-favourite, ran out a comfortable winner of the bumper for Mags Mullins and Patrick Mullins.
Mark Walsh was the big winner, along with owner J.P. McManus, at Naas on Saturday where he partnered the winners of both big races and also took the handicap chase.
Walsh combined with Christy Roche to land the Grade 3 Limestone Lad Hurdle with 4/1 chance Sutton Place. He followed up in the famous green and orange hoops on the Tony Martin-trained Anibale Fly in the Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice Chase, the 7/2 shot just getting the better of 11/4 favourite A Genie In Abottle.
For good measure, both owner and jockey completed a treble when The Gatechecker, trained by a resurgent Michael Hourigan, won the handicap chase at odds of 9/4 favourite.
Shane Nolan, based in nearby Clane, took the 2m handicap hurdle with the Eamon Corbett-ridden 5/2 favourite Charlie Stout.
The longest-priced winner of the day was Shark Hanlon’s I See You Well, who took the opening maiden hurdle under Brian Hayes at a price of 25/1. An easier winner to find was 5/2 shot Augustin who landed the 2m3f maiden hurdle for Willie and Danny Mullins.
Borderline Chatho ran out a good winner of the bumper for trainer Alan Fleming, winning at odds of 5/1 under Stephen Clements.
Limerick-based Richard O’Brien saddled his first winner when Alan’s Pride, ridden by Billy Lee, landed the opening division of the 7f handicap at Dundalk on Friday night.
Sent off a 9/2 chance, the five-year-old made all the running to win easily and will be back at Dundalk this Friday in a bid for a quick follow-up.
The second leg of the same race went to another 9/2 chance in the shape of the David Marnane-trained Tennesse Waltz who was ridden by Killian Leonard.
Leonard’s fellow apprentice Ana O’Brien was on the mark with Geological in the 8f handicap, the 20/1 outsider scoring an all the way success for trainer Damian English. The winning rider’s brother Donnacha landed the apprentice maiden with 11/2 shot World Of Good, trained in Cork by John Murphy.
Sheila Lavery and Ronan Whelan combined to win the opening 5f handicap with 6/1 chance Danz Gift but the remaining races all went to favourites.
Rock In Peace, ridden for Ger Lyons by Colin Keane, took the rated race at odds of 2/1 while 11/10 chance Magen’s Moon won the 7f maiden for John Oxx and Declan McDonogh.
Champion jockey Pat Smullen got off the mark for the year when he partnered 9/4 favourite Serefeli to win the 10f handicap for Monasterevin trainer Peter Fahey.
Annie Power out
Champion trainer Willie Mullins will this week know the extent of the injury suffered by his star mare Annie Power last Tuesday.
She will not defend her Stan James Champion Hurdle crown at Cheltenham but might be in line for a return to action at the Punchestown festival at the end of April.
Mullins had issued an upbeat bulletin on the exceptional nine-year-old ahead of her intended return at Punchestown on February 22nd in the same race in which she made her reappearance last year but his plans were scuppered in the space of 24 hours. He was able to confirm on Wednesday of last week that Annie Power had suffered ligament damage below her knee.
While Faugheen was ruled out of Sunday’s BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle, there was some good news for Mullins, who landed big races with both Un De Sceaux and Vroum Vroum Mag in Britain over the weekend.
Tomorrow (Thursday): Clonmel (First race 1.20pm). Friday: Dundalk (5.30pm). Saturday: Fairyhouse (1.10pm). Sunday: Punchestown (1.30pm).