Cheltenham Festival News

Lossiemouth leads home Mullins 1-2-3-4 in Triumph

Fri 17 Mar 2023

Full replay: 2023 JCB Triumph Hurdle

St Patrick’s Day got off to a raucous start for the legions of Irish racing fans at Cheltenham as Lossiemouth easily justified favouritism in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.

Trainer Willie Mullins saddled no less than seven of the 15 runners and he had the first four home, with the grey becoming just the fifth filly in history to take the prize.

Though Gala Marceau (100-30) stayed on well to take second spot from Zenta (12-1), the race was over once the 11-8 favourite cruised up on the bridle to take it up after jumping the penultimate flight and she was eased to a two-and-a-quarter-length success at the line.

Gust Of Wind completed the Mullins quartet, with jockey Paul Townend recording his fourth winner of the week.

It was the Closutton handler’s third win in the race in four years, having previously struck with Burning Victory in 2020 and Vauban last year.

"We have a nice team for next season," Willie Mullins tells Lydia Hislop

Mullins said: “She travelled into the race at maybe the five-furlong marker and rather than fighting her Paul just let her gallop and held onto her as much as he could for a long as he could.

“He thought she was actually idling come up the straight and thinks there is a little bit more in the tank – she looks a star mare.

“But for the traffic problems in Leopardstown she’d be unbeaten for us. I’m very happy with how they all ran, bar Blood Destiny (finished ninth) who was disappointing. I don’t know what happened to him, but all the rest ran their race.

“It’s a nice start to the day.”

Asked whether Lossiemouth could be a candidate for next year’s Champion Hurdle, Mullins added: “She’s a possibility the way she came up that hill there anyway. There’s every possibility that she’ll go down that route.”

Delighted owner Rich Ricci, celebrating his 20th Festival winner, said: “I felt unlucky on the day after her last run and I’m delighted the one who beat us that day was second as it franks the form. She’s a lovely filly with a lot of scope, she’s National Hunt bred and is very nice.

Owner Rich Ricci speaks to Lydia Hislop after Triumph success for Lossiemouth

“Paul said coming down the hill she wanted to crack on, he held on to her just enough, she filled up and she responded to him which is great as it shows maturity. He said when he let him go she was great.

“I glad for Paul as Willie hammered him the last day. For the record I didn’t think it was Paul’s fault I thought the tactics were wrong so it’s Willie’s fault actually! Willie had his best Jose Mourinho moment and found someone else to blame, but on the day Paul was gutted. Sport is about redemption, I always say that.

“It’s great to be a part of this, Tuesday was such a special day with Honeysuckle and Constitution Hill , then yesterday with Henry (de Bromhead) winning on the day there was a race named after Jack (de Bromhead), it’s a very special week.

“To have a winner is special, it’s our 20th winner but you never take it for granted, we’ve had enough losers.”

Danny Mullins looks to Punchestown with Gala Marceau

Kenny Alexander, owner of runner-up Gala Marceau, said: "She has run an absolute blinder. We beat the winner last time at Leopardstown, so there will have to be a rematch. I will definitely not be scared to take her on again and that will probably be at Punchestown, all being well, at the end of next month."

Frank Berry, racing manager to J P McManus, owner of third placed Zenta, said: "She has jumped well and run a great race. We just bumped into a couple too good on the day. we will see how she comes out of this race before thinking ant plans for the rest of the season."

"Delighted" Mark Walsh gives Lydia Hislop the debrief on Zenta

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