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Embassy Gardens booked for Albert Bartlett following wide-margin win

Sun 22 Jan 2023

Willie Mullins’ Embassy Gardens booked his ticket to the Cheltenham Festival with a runaway success in the W.T. O’Grady Memorial Irish EBF Novice Hurdle at Thurles.

The seven-year-old started as the 5-6 favourite under Paul Townend after some promising maiden efforts that led to the step up to two miles and seven furlongs, for a race won by Monkfish on his way to Cheltenham two years ago.

There may have been some room for improvement in the fluency of his jumping but with two flights remaining he streaked away from his rivals and strolled across the line a massive 35 lengths ahead.

The Albert Bartlett is now the next destination, for which he was slashed to 7-1 from 20-1 by Paddy Power.

“That was a bit more straightforward and he appreciates that step out to three miles,” Mullins said.

“He galloped them into the ground. I imagine the way he gallops through the line, he’ll take up his date in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham. He doesn’t need a run before Cheltenham.

“Hopefully he stays sound and wins a nice novice race this year and he looks a real chasing type.”

Mullins was out of luck in the feature Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase, where Haut En Couleurs fell at the last when holding every chance and Chacun Pour Soi failed to land a blow.

“To me he looked like he slipped, it was one of those things and thankfully horse and jockey are fine,” the trainer told Racing TV of Haut En Couleurs.

Of Chacun Pour Soi he added: “He didn’t impress Paul during the race, he got to the front and Paul just wasn’t happy with him. Maybe age is catching up with him.

“I’ll get him home, check him over and we’ll see where we go.”

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