The Willie Mullins conveyor belt of producing winners is now in full swing, as he proved when taking Gowran Park by storm on Saturday.
Mullins dominated his local meeting, bagging a fabulous four-timer. He seems to have an embarrassment of riches, especially in the novice races.
Tell Us More was the horse on most punters’ radars leaving the track. He had little more that a nice piece of work to land the two mile maiden hurdle under Bryan Cooper.
An expensive purchase after he won his only point-to-point, the Scorpion gelding won his bumper doing handstands at the venue back in March, but it took a very brave person to talk to the bookies at odd of 1/5.
Most punters were satisfied to sit back and see if the pre-race hype was correct. They were rewarded with a display right out of the top drawer.
Setting off in front, the five-year-old measured his hurdles well. Cooper had only a steering job to get the job done by 11 lengths from Nimdani.
A fine big strapping horse, Tell Us More certainly entered the Supreme Novice Hurdle picture, although his pedigree suggests that a longer trip would not inconvenience him. Since he is out of an Old Vic mare jumping a fence in a year or so would seem to be his true vocation.
Mullins was back in the winner’s enclosure just half an hour later. This time Douvan was the provider when he was an equally impressive winner of the novice hurdle over a two mile trip.
Having joined the stable after opening his hurdling account in his native France earlier in the Summer, Douvan was the only that punters wanted to know about. It was not surprising to see him start an odds-on favourite.
Jockey Paul Townend always had him in the firing line before taking a definite advantage at the second last flight, going right away to finish 12 lengths in front of Sizing John.
This was a deeply impressive display from the son of Walk In The Park. As Mullins intimated in his post-race comments, he could be anything.
It is going to be highly interesting to see how the trainer keeps horses like these apart in the months ahead. Other trainers will hardly relish the thought of taking them on.
Ballycasey made it three for Mullins when he put in a fine round of jumping to take the two mile and four conditions chase under Paul Townend.
Having looked a champion in the making early last season Ballycasey subsequently had little luck and seemed to have the Power Gold Cup at his mercy when coming down two out. He has won first time out in each of the past two seasons and did it again here, making every post a winning one to take the money by five and a half lengths from Followmeuptocarlow.
A step up in grade is now likely for the winner, who seems to relish the two mile and a half trip as well as a dig in the ground.
Mullins completed his quartet of winners when saddling Don Poli to justify strong support in the two mile and four beginners chase.
A smart novice hurdler last term with a Cheltenham victory to his credit, Don Poli made the transition to jumping fences with the minimum of fuss. He was never too far out of his ground, taking charge entering the straight where he found plenty to beat Wounded Warrior by two and a half lengths.
Staying is obviously the name of the game for the winner, who will have the National Hunt Chase at the Cotswolds as his target.
Prussian Eagle upset the Mullins applecart in the opening juvenile maiden hurdle when he proved a length and a half too good for the favourite Business Sivola.
Something of a disappointment on the flat, Prussian Eagle has shown a gradual improvement since changing codes. In spite of running very free early on, the winner had enough in reserve to tackle the favourite between the final two flights before hitting the wire a length and a half the good.
This pair finished no less than 18 lengths clear of the third finisher Lady Clitico, which would suggest that they are well up to standard at this level.
Racing concluded on a high note for punters when Black Zero captured the two mile and two 92-120 handicap chase, but he had luck on his side when the Eoin Doyle runner Indian Fairy came down when travelling well at the last fence.
Backed from 6/1 into 7/2, Black Zero hit the front at the penultimate fence from longtime leader Indian Fairy. There was nothing between the pair when the latter made her exit and she could be considered a shade unlucky.