Min battles back in John Durkan at Punchestown

Ruby Walsh reacts to Min's brilliant Aintree victory
Ruby Walsh reacts to Min's brilliant Aintree victory

Min ran out a game winner of the Grade One John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase for the second year running on Sunday.

Willie Mullins' eight-year-old won the same contest last year on his seasonal reappearance before going onto more top-level glory at the Dublin Racing Festival and in the Melling Chase at Aintree.

His performance in Liverpool, when winning by 20 lengths, was arguably a career best and it suggests 2m4f is his optimum trip, even if he is capable of winning over two miles at the highest level.

He certainly shone again over 2m4f on Sunday, battling back when headed by Hardline between the last two and he sealed the contest with an exuberant leap at the last under Paul Townend.

Hardline ran a superb race in second while Presenting Percy, ridden by JJ Slevin after Davy Russell was stood down through illness, ran on nicely for third over an inadequate test.

Mullins said: "I thought it was an unbelievable performance coming after three mistakes. I think he wanted to go faster, but it's hard to judge what is happening in that wind.

"To come back from what I thought was certain defeat after the second-last was very good. He picked up and threw a huge leap at the last and was going away after the last.

"I hadn't thought beyond today and don't have any plan for him. The jump at the last just shows what he had in the tank and that sealed it for him.

"I think he can jump way better than that and can improve from that run. He can go over two miles or two and a half."

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