Mikael comes good at Punchestown
A Willie Mullins treble at Punchestown was highlighted by a welcome first success over fences at the eighth attempt for Grade One-winning hurdler Mikael D'Haguenet.
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Paul Townend did the steering on the 8-13 favourite as he beat Lord Windermere by two and three-quarter lengths, and the result never really looked in any doubt bar a mistake at the second-last.
Mullins said: "He did things nicely today and is getting his act together. He'll probably go for a winners-of-one next as we are trying to build up his confidence and get him jumping well.
"We might just keep him low-key, maybe we'll go to Limerick for the Grade Two down there."
"He just doesn't have the same scope over fences that he does over hurdles.
"He came back a lot stronger this summer and that might be the key to him if I can keep more muscle on him."
Mullins' son, Patrick, who is chasing the record for number of winners by an amateur in a calendar year in Ireland (he now needs just four), rode the other two.
Pride Ofthe Parish (1-3 favourite) barely broke sweat in the novice hurdle while Sizing Tennessee (4-6 favourite) had to see off the persistent challenge of Redundant Man in the closing bumper.
Mullins snr said of Pride Ofthe Parish: "He did it nicely. We'll keep him going in staying novice hurdles although he is going to be a chaser down the road. He's particularly at home on this heavy ground."
Sizing Tennessee is owned by Ann and Alan Potts of Sizing Europe fame and looks a chaser of the future. Stan James introduced him at 25-1 for the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in March.
Sizing Europe's trainer Henry de Bromhead enjoyed a great day with an across-the-card treble, his two winners at Cork supplemented by Too Scoops, owned by some Paddy Power employees, who was a good winner of the I.N.H. Stallion Owners E.B.F. Novice Hurdle.
Waaheb was a notable non-runner but Too Scoops (6-1), ridden by Andrew Lynch, still beat some notable rivals.
"He was really good and we were delighted. He loved the strong gallop and stayed on really well," said De Bromhead.
"He's in at Leopardstown over Christmas but we'll see how it unfolds. Today was the day we said we'd have a real go."
Townend doubled up courtesy of Glenquest (5-2 favourite) in the Weatherbys Ireland GSB Handicap Chase.
Third in the Troytown recently, his consistency was rewarded with a nice prize.
"When the other one came to me it helped him battle. His jumping is a big plus," said Townend.