Mount scales new heights
Danny Mullins could not have wished for a better start in his new job as retained rider for leading owner Barry Connell, as Mount Benbulben cruised to victory in the Bet On Your Mobile With boylesports.com Chase at Thurles.
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Things had no quite gone to plan for Gordon Elliott's charge over fences but with Mullins riding for the first time it all clicked into place.
Sent off the 11/4 second favourite, Mount Benbulben looked better suited to racing right-handed and despite being up against some far more experienced rivals his class shone through.
He jumped to the front at the final fence in the back straight and was still full of running approaching the last, where Lastoftheleaders tried to challenge but could get no closer than 11 lengths.
The odds-on favourite Lambro was disappointing and never looked completely happy.
Elliott said: "We've always known that he's got a fair engine and it was just a matter of putting it together.
"I'd say going right-handed and the ground not being so bad was a help. We'll stay going right-handed now.
"He'll go for the Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse and then probably on to Punchestown."
Bright New Dawn cashed in on Venture Capital's final-flight fall to take the Boylesports.com Michael Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle.
Second to Champagne Fever in the Grade One Deloitte Novice Hurdle on his last start, Bright New Dawn was all the rage in the market, going off the 6/4 favourite.
Davy Russell took up the running on Dessie Hughes' charge on leaving the back straight but was faced with the challenge of Touch The Eden, Jennies Jewel, Venture Capital and Mala Beach.
Philip Fenton's Venture Capital nosed in front on the run to the last but crashed out, which allowed Bright New Dawn to come home three lengths clear of Mala Beach, with Jennies Jewel third.
Venture Capital's fall proved fatal. Russell said of the winner: "I held fire going to the last as he was idling a bit."
Hughes said: "This wouldn't really be his track as he likes a good galloping track.
"He's a real chaser in the making and we're minding him this year so he won't be going to Cheltenham.
"He'll go to Fairyhouse for a two-and-a-half-mile novice."
Having also struck in the opener aboard Carrig Millie, Russell brought home yet another treble when the Mullins-trained Raise Hell (15/8 joint-favourite) won the Killinan Maiden Hurdle.