Despite being responsible for a double at Cork, Willie Mullins suffered his share of reversals on Sunday (2 winners from 16 runners) with his five runners in the Grade 1 John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown finding Fastorslow too good, while Tullyhill was a distant second on his hurdling debut at the same track. Sent off 1/8 favourite, the five year old didn't jump with any fluency and was beaten 24 lengths by Shannon Royale.
The same stable's Enola could only finish fourth on her hurdles debut at Cork earlier in the afternoon. Featured in the Top 40 Prospects, the daughter of Recorder who won three times on the Flat including a Listed event in France was returning from an absence of 437 days and ran as though she needed the outing. Mullins had expressed concerns about the ground beforehand and the four year old drifted alarmingly in the market. Danny Mullins' mount looked set to play a leading role approaching the third last but faded thereafter. A €200,000 purchase, the Joe and Marie Donnelly owned filly needs to show more next time to justify her hefty price tag.
The Top 40 enjoyed better fortunes at Uttoxeter with Ten Lengths Tom (5/1 into 6/4) landing some tidy bets in the two and a half miles maiden hurdle. The Mount Nelson gelding had run better than his finishing position suggested at Ascot on his hurdles debut this month but was always going to improve for a step up in distance. Handy throughout, Tom Lacey's runner showed a determined attitude to fend off the late challenge of Itsnoteasy to prevail by a neck. The sort to keep on improving, the handicapper is unlikely to over react and is a promising youngster capable of winning more races.
The Herefordshire handler went on to complete a double with Roger Rarebit outclassing his opponents in the two and a half miles handicap chase. Making his fencing bow off a mark of 101, the gelded son of Black Sam Bellamy jumped accurately before stretching away after the third last to win hard held by six lengths. Expect to see him out soon under a penalty because it will be a long time before he races off such a generous looking mark again. The Lacey team are in fine fettle with 6 winners from their last 13 runners.
Another yard in excellent form this week - also featured in the Talking Trainers section of One Jump Ahead - is that of Harry Fry. Paul Nicholls' former assistant has sent out 6 winners from 17 runners since Monday, including Boothill's victory in the valuable Hurst Park Handicap Chase at Ascot on Saturday. Danton was his latest winner appreciating the step in trip in the two miles five handicap hurdle at Exeter on Sunday.
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