Four star display from Mullins
Champion trainer Willie Mullins dominated Saturday's card at Navan, saddling a four-timer.
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The first victory came courtesy of Vautour in the opener but Mullins wasted little time in sending out another impressive French recruit as well-bred multiple bumper winner Urticaire trotted up in the Dunmoe Mares Maiden Hurdle.
The Gigginstown Stud-owned five-year-old eased into the lead at the second-last flight in the hands of Davy Russell and quickened clear on the run-in to beat Katie T by four and a half lengths as the 4/6 favourite.
Patrick Mullins said: "She won five bumpers in France and is a half-sister to Trifolium. That's what we were expecting. She can be a bit of a French filly but her lad Thomas has done a great job getting her settled and to race professionally.
"She can be a bit on her toes but settled well today and Davy gave her a lovely ride. Hopefully she will be a black-type mare."
The exciting Faugheen further enhanced his reputation as he kept the bandwagon rolling for Mullins, and Ruby Walsh, in the Meath Novice Hurdle.
Felix Yonger then made it four for Mullins, and three for Walsh, as he maintained his unbeaten record over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Chase.
Three of the four runners were from the Mullins yard but Passage Vendome and The Paparrazi Kid never got into the race as Davy Russell set about making it a true test on Charles Byrnes' smart Trifolium.
He jumped fluently in front, but Walsh kept him in his sights and after moving up smoothly to join issue at the second-last, the 1/2 favourite was soon in command as he stretched clear to win impressively by 15 lengths.
Patrick Mullins said: "He could go back up in trip or stay here. The fact that he was asked to go around at that speed today was good experience for him. He could run at Christmas, but he's done plenty of racing so he doesn't have to."
Walsh said: "It was a good performance. In fairness to Trifolium he went some gallop and never missed a beat. He stretched me all the way but you'd have to love the way he quickened up. He was very good."
The layers certainly agreed with Sky Bet cutting him to 10/1 (from 14/1) for the Racing Post Arkle Trophy and to 9/1 (from 12s) for the Jewson Novices' Chase.