O'Brien bumper duo strike out
Aidan O'Brien's first National Hunt runners in well over eight years failed to land a blow in the AES Family Saturday At The Festival INH Flat Race at Punchestown.
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The master of Ballydoyle is no stranger to the jumping game, having trained the incredible Istabraq to win three Champion Hurdles at Cheltenham.
However, the stable's last runner under National Hunt rules was The Alamo, ridden by Coolmore supremo John Magnier's son MV, in a bumper at Tipperary in October 2004.
O'Brien saddled two runners in the Punchestown bumper, with Egyptian Warrior a particularly fascinating contender due to him being a full-brother to last year's Racing Post Trophy scorer and Epsom Derby favourite Kingsbarns.
Trading as favourite early in the morning, Egyptian Warrior (3/1) drifted prior to the start of the race and although he made some headway from the back of the field in the hands of the trainer's daughter, Sarah O'Brien, he was ultimately well beaten in fifth.
Stable companion Shield (10/1), partnered by Kate Harrington, ran a more encouraging race for a long way, but he could only find the one pace in the straight and passed the post one place ahead of Egyptian Warrior in fourth.
The race was won by Garrett Power-trained newcomer Yes Sir Brian (20/1), with Ange Balafre second and the gambled-on favourite Guns And Malt third.
On a day of mixed fortunes for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh, the pair combined to take the Festival Party Pack From 19 Maiden Hurdle with exciting French recruit Un De Sceaux.
A dual bumper winner in his homeland, the 9-10 favourite raced enthusiastically, jumped neatly and displayed a smart change of gear on the run-in to defeat Sammy Black by six lengths.
Mullins said: "He has been doing that sort of work at home and is one I've been looking forward to getting out.
"He jumped well for a horse first time over hurdles, but he's very hard on himself and we'll see how he comes out of this before deciding where to go.
"He is certainly a nice addition to the team."
The victory brought Walsh level with Davy Russell in the race for the jockeys' title on 85 winners for the campaign.
The Mullins-trained and Walsh-ridden Apt Approach, a Grade Two winner over fences, suffered a fatal fall as 7-4 shot Dressedtothenines claimed the Festival Any Day Flexi-Ticket Hurdle for Eddie Harty and Niall Madden.
Harty said: "I'm sorry for Willie and it's not a nice way to win.
"Dressedtothenines is a nice mare and seems to be back to herself.
"I spotted this race a while ago and if we can find something similar it would be great."
Walsh had earlier suffered a suspected broken nose when parting company with Mullins' Andiamos on the way to the start for the opening Festival Free Upgrade Offer Ends Today Maiden Hurdle.
With the horse was subsequently withdrawn and odds-on favourite Foxrock disappointing, victory went to Colin Bowe's 11-2 chance Kashline.
"I was a small bit concerned that the ground might be a bit too tacky but we decided to hold him up for one run as that's how he won his point to points," said Bowe.
"He has plenty of scope for fences although we might wait until next season to go chasing."
David Mullins, son of trainer Tom, rode his first winner as 33-1 shot Rathvawn Belle landed the concluding bumper.