Punchestown Champion Hurdle: Wicklow Brave wins

Wicklow Brave
Wicklow Brave

Wicklow Brave kept Willie Mullins' title hopes well and truly alive when making all to win the Betdaq Punchestown Champion Hurdle on Friday.

By Lewis Lesbirel

Betdaq Punchestown Champion Hurdle  

Race Result 

1st  Wicklow Brave 12/1
2nd My Tent Or Yours 8/1
3rd Arctic Fire 9/2

Click here for the full result and free video replay

Race Report

Wicklow Brave kept Willie Mullins' title hopes well and truly alive when making all to win the Betdaq Punchestown Champion Hurdle on Friday.

The 12/1 shot looked to be third choice of the Mullins’ quartet on jockey bookings, but stole a 10-length lead turning for home under an opportunist ride from Mullins’ son Patrick.

My Tent Or Yours emerged from the chasing pack to claim second, but couldn’t quite reel the leader in and Wicklow Brave held on gamely to score by a length-and-a-half.

Arctic Fire ran on to snatch third under Paul Townend and nudge Willie Mullins ahead in the battle for the trainer’s title. The well-backed 6/4 favourite Vroum Vroum Mag faded tamely and was never involved. 

There was drama at the start once again involving a grey horse in orange silks, but it was Diakali’s turn to refuse to race and not the unpredictable Labaik, who jumped off fine and ran on to finish a creditable fourth. 

Reaction

Patrick Mullins: "I didn't think we were going a mad gallop and I said I'd take a chance and just let him enjoy himself. He's always threatened to do this. I rode him here one day and he was third behind Faugheen and Nichols Canyon. It's a massive thrill and I'm very grateful to everyone involved. It's nice to ride a Classic winner over hurdles!"

Willie Mullins: "I'm just delighted for Patrick, and to win that means so much to me. The horse took off and Patrick had enough sense to let him off. For an amateur rider to do that is something special, and for his size I don't know how he does the weight. Our plan was to put the horse back on the Flat and he is in a race at York. We decided that he was needed more here."

Nicky Henderson (My Tent Or Yours): "You'd have to say he deserves one, but he's run another fantastic race. He's going straight on down to Martinstown now and has his holiday there, which he loves. He's amazing as three Festivals is very hard to do, especially with an old boy like that. We've had to mind him the last few days, but since he's been over here he's started squealing again. He's been a legend throughout his life, but to run three races like he has is great."

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