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Echoes Of Rain bounces back to winning form for Mullins team

Sun 28 Feb 2021

Echoes In Rain got back on the winning trail with a thoroughly impressive display in the Paddy Power Betting Shop Novice Hurdle at Naas.

The Willie Mullins-trained mare bolted up over the course and distance in December, before finishing fourth in the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown on her latest appearance.

The daughter of Authorized was the 11-8 favourite to strike Grade Two gold at the second attempt – and after tracking the pacesetting Razzle Dazzle Love for much of the two-mile journey, she travelled powerfully into the lead early in the home straight.

Belfast Banter came from further back to try to close the gap, but Echoes In Rain never looked in serious danger of being caught in the hands of Paul Townend and could easily have won by further than the official margin of eight lengths.

Mullins said: “She’s learning and at least she got a full round of jumping in there, not like the last day here, when it was nearly a Flat race (hurdles not jumped in the straight due to the low lying sun).

“She’s learning how to settle and there was a good pace, which helped her.”

Considering future targets, the champion trainer added: “There is a race here in a fortnight that might be a little too soon for her and there is also a novice in Fairyhouse at Easter.

“She had a tough enough race there because she is tough on herself. Maybe the experience over hurdles is teaching her to race and it might do her no harm experience-wise for the future.

“She has a lovely turn of foot and if we could teach her to settle better and use that, she could make a very smart two-miler.

“A faster pace over better ground would help her. She’s going the right way.”

Cilaos Emery is not certain to be part of Willie Mullins’ formidable squad for the Cheltenham Festival despite producing a dominant display in the first race at Naas on Sunday.

Fourth in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last March, Cilaos Emery had run just once since – filling the runner-up spot behind stablemate Bachasson in November’s Clonmel Oil Chase.

With champion jockey Paul Townend in the saddle, the nine-year-old was the 1-2 favourite to make a successful return in the Grade Three WhatOddsPaddy? Chase and could hardly have been more impressive.

Cilaos Emery set a sound pace from flag-fall, with Daly Tiger the only one of his three rivals able to keep tabs on him.

There was little to choose between the pair leaving the back straight, but the market leader readily asserted from the home turn and passed the post with 11 lengths in hand.

“The break did him no harm and he’s come back good and strong,” said Mullins. “He jumped great and I was really pleased with that. We’ll try to find another similar type of race for him.”

Cilaos Emery is entered in both the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham, but Mullins added: “I don’t know if he’ll travel.

“There might be nice prizes on the home front. It’s good to get him back to winning ways. We did a lot of work on his jumping and I’m very pleased it has paid off.”

Echoes In Rain got back on the winning trail with a thoroughly impressive display in the Paddy Power Betting Shop Novice Hurdle at Naas.

The Willie Mullins-trained mare bolted up over the course and distance in December, before finishing fourth in the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown on her latest appearance.

The daughter of Authorized was the 11-8 favourite to strike Grade Two gold at the second attempt – and after tracking the pacesetting Razzle Dazzle Love for much of the two-mile journey, she travelled powerfully into the lead early in the home straight.

Belfast Banter came from further back to try to close the gap, but Echoes In Rain never looked in serious danger of being caught in the hands of Paul Townend and could easily have won by further than the official margin of eight lengths.

Mullins said: “She’s learning and at least she got a full round of jumping in there, not like the last day here, when it was nearly a Flat race (hurdles not jumped in the straight due to the low lying sun).

“She’s learning how to settle and there was a good pace, which helped her.”

Considering future targets, the champion trainer added: “There is a race here in a fortnight that might be a little too soon for her and there is also a novice in Fairyhouse at Easter.

“She had a tough enough race there because she is tough on herself. Maybe the experience over hurdles is teaching her to race and it might do her no harm experience-wise for the future.

“She has a lovely turn of foot and if we could teach her to settle better and use that, she could make a very smart two-miler.

“A faster pace over better ground would help her. She’s going the right way.”

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