Ruby Walsh strikes as Beau initiates Willie Mullins brace

Wed 2 Aug 2017

Ruby Walsh registered his first victory at the 2017 Galway Festival when Minella Beau made a successful hurdling debut in the Win Big With Tote Maiden Hurdle.

The well-backed 5-4 favourite was tackling obstacles for the first time under rules but Walsh was happy to set his own pace, and he was tracked by fellow Willie Mullins inmate Castello Sforza from halfway.

A mistake two out put paid to his stable companion's chances, with Turbojet emerging as the chief threat, but Minella Beau had plenty left in the tank and held on by three-quarters of a length.

Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father, said: "It's fantastic for the Mees (owners). It was Michael's idea to come here. We'd have put him out until the winter, but Michael said if the ground was safe that he should run here.

"He wants further and softer ground to be seen at his best."

Mullins then donned the Mee silks to land the Win Big With Tote (Q.R.) Maiden on his father's Exchange Rate.

Successful in a bumper but having his first outing under Flat rules, the easy-to-back 7-2 chance looked in need of a run two furlongs out, but the gap came and he responded well to dispose of Great Trango by two and a quarter lengths.

Miss Eyecatcher ran out a tremendously game winner of the Tote Irish EBF Mares Handicap Hurdle.

A smart bumper performer, Roger McGrath's charge had not really got her act together since going jumping, but David Mullins rode a positive race on her and she was to the fore from the start.

There were plenty of challengers queuing up behind her swinging for home, but the 14-1 shot really stuck her neck out and crossed the line a length and a quarter to the good over Rosie Alice.

Davids Charm (14-1) came off the reserves' bench to run away with Handicap Hurdle.

Up 16lb for his Listowel win in June, the John Joe Walsh-trained six-year-old still has plenty to learn because he ran around a bit after taking up the running on the home turn, but he is some way ahead of the assessor and beat Clara Sorrento by seven and a half lengths under Ambrose McCurtin.

Walsh said: "He's in here again on Sunday - over three miles - we'll see how he is.

"Ambrose gave him a really good ride."

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