Ruby hits the magic fifty

Stephen Mullen on Day Three


ing as I’ve been here be­fore twice but haven’t had much luck. In 1990, I had a nice horse in the Supreme Novices’which didn’t win (Art Trail) and I had an­other a cou­ple of years later in the Na­tional Hunt Chase which Wil­lie Mullins rode (Take The Town in 1994), but un­for­tu­nately he was un­seated so to­day is the first bit of luck I’ve had.

“The boys kept say­ing the bet­ter the ground, the nicer horse I had so I wasn’t wor­ried about that.He is only a novice but he has plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence.”


1) Mall Dini (Philip Reynolds) Pat Kelly IRE 6-10-11 Davy Rus­sell 14/1 2) Ar­pege D’alene (Mr & Mrs Paul Bar­ber, Poten­sis Blood­stock) Paul Ni­cholls 6-1104 Sean Bowen 14/1 3) If In Doubt (J P McManus) Philip Hobbs 8-11-04 Richard John­son 10/1 4) Tagli­etelle (Ol­du­vai Syn­di­cate) Gor­don El­liott IRE 7-11-09 Jack Kennedy (3) 14/1


Vau­tour’s im­pres­sive six-length vic­tory in the Ryanair Chase vin­di­cated Wil­lie Mullins’de­ci­sion to run him in the two and half mile race rather than the longer Tim­ico Chel­tenham Gold Cup,his orig­i­nal tar­get.

Mullins said: “He hasn’t been ex­actly de­light­ing me in his work,and it’s amaz­ing to see him mak­ing a per­for­mance like that. I think the dry­ing ground has been a huge help to him,and maybe he’s a horse who was just fed up of all that win­ter ground.

“He had a very hard race in Kemp­ton [when he was se­cond in the King Ge­orge VI Chase] and it took him ages and ages to get over it.We’ve been try­ing ev­ery­thing with him for the past three weeks,all sorts of things,and they’ve ob­vi­ously worked.”

Vau­tour,who started at even money,was rid­den by Ruby Walsh, for whom it was a 51st Fes­ti­val vic­tory and a sixth of the meet­ing.

When asked what horse Vau­tour was work­ing with that made him look unim­pres­sive, Mullins replied:“I must find out! David Casey would tell you. It could have been Li­mini...but prob­a­bly Djakadam.”


1 Vau­tour (FR) Wil­lie Mullins, Ire­land 11st 10lb RubyWalsh Evens Fav 2 Valseur Lido (FR) Wil­lie Mullins, Ire­land 11st 10lb David Mullins 11/1 3 Road To Riches (IRE) Noel Meade, Ire­land 11st 10lb Bryan Cooper 7/1


Thistlecrack pro­duced a re­mark­able per­for­mance when run­ning away with a strongly-run Ryanair World Hur­dle.

The even money favourite was al­ways trav­el­ling pow­er­fully un­der jockey Tom Scu­d­amore and was still on the bri­dle turn­ing for home, hav­ing seen off ev­ery one of his ri­vals bar Al­pha Des Obeaux, who was be­ing asked for his ef­fort as the pair hit the home straight.

How­ever, he had no an­swer to Thistlecrack’s power as the win­ner surged clear on the run to the last and he pow­ered clear up the hill to record an ef­fort­less seven length vic­tory.

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