I was working for Racing UK at Carlisle yesterday and the Willie Mullins trained Benie Des Dieux was the class act on the card winning the Listed mares' chase by a hard held eight lengths. The six year old who won on the Flat and over hurdles in France before being bought by Harold Kirk on behalf of Susannah and Rich Ricci. She was a thirty lengths winner on her chasing and Irish debut at Limerick last Christmas before being sidelined with an injury. Her jumping on that occasion was spectacular and it was a similar story at the Cumbrian track over the weekend. Making virtually all, David Mullins' mount gradually upped the tempo once turning for home and wasn't hard pressed to fend off Tacenda. The Donald McCain trained Lastbutnotleast was pulled up before the eighth fence having been found to have burst a blood vessel. I received a text from Rich Ricci shortly after the race and, while he hadn't discussed future plans with Willie Mullins, he suggested the mare could be in action again over Christmas before a possible tilt at a mares' hurdle race at Doncaster in late January. Wherever she heads, Benie Des Dieux is an exciting prospect for both hurdles and fences. Her superb jumping alone will ensure she will wins plenty more races.
Gordon Elliott won all three Grade 1 events at Fairyhouse with Mengli Khan, Apple's Jade and Death Duty collecting the Royal Bond, Hattons Grace Hurdle and Drinmore Novices' Chase respectively. Espoir D'Allen, who is featured in the French Revolution section of One Jump Ahead, made it three out of three over timber when taking the opening Grade 3 juvenile hurdle. Gavin Cronwell's gelding jumped slickly and readily pulled clear of dual winner Mitchouka (also in the French Revolution feature) to win by four and a half lengths. The Grade 2 juvenile hurdle at Leopardstown on Boxing Day would appear to be his next logical target. Along with another ex-French recruit Apple's Shakira, owner J.P.McManus currently has a strong hand in the three year old hurdling department.
Thank you to all those clients who contacted me following yesterday's Email Service winner. The race was a pleasure to watch with very few anxious moments and it was certainly much needed. Your support is greatly appreciated, especially after such a rocky spell in recent weeks.
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