• Racing/
  • Quevega The Queen Of The World

Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle (Grade 1) 3m

  • (4yo+, 3m, 6 runners)
  • Winner €105,400 2nd €32,300 3rd €15,300 4th €5,100 5th €3,400
  • Going: Heavy
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 6m 30.20s
  • Off time: 17:40:37
  • Last Updated: April 25 2013, 20:40 BST

Quevega (6/4) defended her Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle crown at Punchestown after favourite Solwhit was withdrawn before the start.

Quevega: Won the World Series Hurdle again
Quevega: Won the World Series Hurdle again

Willie Mullins' mare, who was made to work hard for a record fifth mares' hurdle win at the Cheltenham Festival last month, was left with what appeared a relatively a straightforward task after Solwhit was taken out at the start on veterinary advice.

That proved the case as she landed the Grade One contest for the fourth year running at the expense of Reve De Sivola (9/2), who had cut out most of the running under Daryl Jacob.

The writing was on the wall for the runner-up turning into the straight, however, as Ruby Walsh sat motionless until finally asking his mount to go to the front at the final flight.

The response was instant and impressive, with Walsh able to remain virtually motionless as the star mare extended her incredible winning run to eight.

After steering Quevega to what was a five-length romp, Walsh told At The Races: "She's a really good mare. It was plenty heavy enough for her but, in fairness, it was plenty heavy for any horse.

"She's a brilliant little mare. She's been exceptionally well placed and trained. She has a great attitude and she's not the easiest mare to look after.

"She is so accurate in her jumping, she travels and she's honest. she's the real deal. She's won four of these and five mares' hurdles at Cheltenham.

"Solwhit didn't run, but you can only beat what is in front of you and beat them she did."

Mullins said: "It was unfortunate what happened and I feel sorry for Solwhit's connections. It could have been us. I don't know what happened to Solwhit, but it can happen to any horse at any time.

"We're not afraid to enter her in the two-mile championships, she has that sort of speed at home.

"We're lucky to have a horse like Hurricane Fly, but if we didn't have him she could run in the two-mile races.

"I was very nervous hoping that she wouldn't fluff her lines at the last, because one or two years here she has made mistakes at the last and today she jumped perfectly throughout on ground Ruby said she was not liking as she gets older.

"I was very worried going to Cheltenham as she looked big, a bit like a mare in foal - that's probably why she ran so sluggish there. She did a great piece of work last Saturday and that's really the first time she was race-fit this year.

"It will be the same plan next year, she will have her prep run in Cheltenham and then come back here. Obviously our big thing will be to try to go back to Cheltenham and win there for the sixth time.

"She is older and stronger now and able to handle it. She comes from a French cross-country pedigree. With that sort of ground you'd like to be bred that way."

There was a 40p deduction on winning bets after Solwhit, who was the 11/8 favourite, was withdrawn when found to be bleeding from the nose.

Charles Byrnes, trainer of Solwhit, successful in the big staying events at Cheltenham and Aintree, confirmed: "There was blood on one nostril and we got him scoped but he hasn't burst a blood vessel, it was just a scratch.

"Davy (Russell) did the right thing, once there was blood there."

Reve De Sivola's rider Daryl Jacob said: "We just ran into an exceptional mare. We were giving her 7lb and were beaten five lengths. My horse jumped great and travelled great but she's exceptional."

Owner Paul Duffy was unable to make the journey to Ireland, but he watched the race and was delighted with the performance of the Nick Williams-trained gelding.

He said: "We must be pleased with that. We've come up against a wonder horse, but she was getting 7lb.

"We're happy with that and he ran his race and he gave his all. At one stage I thought he was going to win, but Quevega turned into another gear.

"I don't think the ground got in his way. He ran his race and the rest of them were beaten a long way. The two were well clear and we were beaten by a better horse on the day.

"Nick (Williams) keeps looking at the French races, so there possibly might be something on the agenda. We'll see and he's only an eight-year-old. He'll stick to hurdling as he doesn't like fences.

"We'll put him in the same regime as this year and start off in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury."

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