Cheltenham Festival News

Lossiemouth clear favourite for Triumph after Irish debut

Sun 4 Dec 2022

Lossiemouth staked her JCB Triumph Hurdle claims in style as she led home a Willie Mullins one-two in the Bar One Racing Price Boost Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

The Closutton handler was responsible for four of the 10 runners in the Grade Three contest, but it became obvious this would be fought out between Lossiemouth and the 5-4 market leader Zarak The Brave as the race entered the business end. And it was the clinical jumping at the last two flights which sealed victory for the Danny Mullins-ridden winner, who was sent off the 3-1 second favourite.

Nice performance - watch a full replay of Lossiemouth's victory at Fairyhouse

Owner Rich Ricci has not been shy in mentioning Lossiemouth in dispatches since acquiring the daughter of Great Pretender following a 10-length win at Auteuil in April and this taking stable debut will have connections dreaming she could follow in the footsteps of Vauban, who scooped top juvenile honours at the Cheltenham Festival earlier this year.

“That looked very good,” said Mullins. “She came with a nice reputation from France and has been working nicely at home but that’s certainly way better than anything she has shown us before.

“Today was just a finding-out mission to see what we had and it looks like we have found a good one.

“Danny said he could have gone at any stage. He said her jumping was very good and she has so much scope. She was very good.

“We’ve found out a lot today and look forward to the future with her. We’ll have a look at Leopardstown at Christmas and see what the penalty structure is and there is also the Grade One at the Dublin Racing Festival.”

Betfair responded by making Lossiemouth 5-1 from 12-1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle.

In the opening Bar One Racing Sign Up Bet 10 Get 50 Irish EBF Mares Handicap Chase, Gavin Cromwell’s Malina Girl registered a five-length success in the hands of Luke Dempsey.

“The soft ground brought her stamina into play over the trip and for a small mare, she’s very good to jump. It’s a nice pot,” said the winning trainer.

“I bought her in an August sale for €7,500 and she’s won a bumper, an auction maiden hurdle and a beginners chase and a five grand bonus for winning each race and a 10 grand sales voucher for winning the auction race.

“She’s been some money-spinner.”

Just over 24 hours on from landing big-race success at Aintree, Emmet Mullins was on the scoresheet once again when Merlin Giant (9-2) landed the valuable Handicap Hurdle scooping €59,000.

The winner is now set for a break before being targeted at the spring festivals early next year, while the Galway Hurdle could also be on the radar.

“He has more of a Flat pedigree, and we were slightly concerned about the ground, but he coped with it,” said Mullins.

“The trip might have been a bit far for him the last day, but it was good to get that run under his belt coming here for a big, competitive handicap hurdle. You need experience for these races, although it didn’t turn out like that in the end as Danny strung them out.

“We’ll give him a break now and maybe come back for the festivals in the spring.

“The Galway Hurdle could well be the aim next summer and he’ll be well up into that bracket now in the weights.”

Punitive (9-2) and Fakiera gave Gordon Elliott a one-two in the Bar One Racing Porterstown Handicap Chase and the Cullentra House handler brought up a four-timer on the day when Better Days Ahead (15-8) opened his Rules account at the second attempt in the concluding Bar One Racing Giving Cash Back Daily (Pro/Am) Flat Race.

The son of Milan got the better of the well-regarded 4-6 favourite Chapeau De Soleil and was cut to 10-1 from 20s with Paddy Power for the Champion Bumper, while the runner-up was eased out to the same price from 13-2 by the same bookmaker.

Elliott, who also took the Drinmore with Mighty Potter and the Hatton’s Grace with Teahupoo, said: “He’s a nice horse. We thought he would win the first day but he’s a proper horse and is one to look forward to. He’ll stay in bumpers this season.”

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