Flood makes waves at Thurles
Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh endured something of a mixed afternoon at Thurles as they had three and two winners respectively, but two expensive fallers.
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Mikael D'Haguenet, who himself has not enjoyed much luck over fences, enjoyed a confidence-booster in the WT O'Grady Memorial EBF Novice Chase.
The Mullins-trained 1-2 favourite was not hard pressed in winning by two lengths.
His success came just half an hour after Djakadam came down at the last with the race in the bag.
Mullins said: "Phew, there was better luck there.
"We'll try and keep him to that sort of trip now (two and a half miles).
"The Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse at Easter is a likely target.
"He'll be entered for all those races at Cheltenham but whether or not he goes is another day's work.
"He is a course winner at Cheltenham so we might have a run before then to make up our minds."
Stablemate Ballycasey (4-6 favourite) later entered the picture for the Cheltenham Festival with an impressive performance in the INH Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle.
"He's progressing lovely. I'm happy he handled the ground as I thought it might be too soft," said Mullins.
"I don't know if he'll run again between now and Cheltenham.
"He'll be entered in the Albert Bartlett and the Neptune and he's the type of horse that would prefer better ground."
Sky Bet cut him to 8s from 12-1 for the former.
Mullins' Tarla looked beaten when she came down in the Fame And Glory & Sans Frontieres Coolmore National Hunt Sires EBF Fund Mares Novice Chase, in which Noras Fancy was a 14-1 winner.
Successful trainer Jimmy Mangan said: "She's a course winner and that was a big help. Soft ground is the key to her.
"She'll stick to those mares' races.
"I'm delighted for Michael (Dixon, owner). Everyone knows the horse is named after his wife and she died over a month ago.
"She's looking after us from above."
Mullins still brought home the treble when the Patrick Mullins-ridden Equus Maximus (9-1) claimed the concluding Arctic Tack Stud Hunters Chase.
"I think we'll go back to Cheltenham in March for the Foxhunter Chase," said Mullins.
"I kept him for the big hunter chases. He'll have an entry in them all."