Racenews - uk horseracingRacenews Newslink Archive click here for...


Friday, April 23, 2010


Hurricane Fly returned better than ever from a five-month break to win a high-class renewal of the Rabobank Champion Hurdle under Paul Townend to give Willie Mullins a fifth Grade 1 success at the 2010 Punchestown Festival.

Townend pulled out all the stops to get up to defeat Solwhit in the closing stages with the Mullins-trained Thousand Words running a blinder under Katie Walsh to finish third. They were clear of the fourth.

“The one thing I wanted Paul to do was settle the horse, which he did, and he rode him very confidently. We were delighted,” said Mullins.

“As I said beforehand, he’d been doing everything right and had not missed a beat for the last four weeks but I was a bit worried that we might have needed to have taken him away for a second piece of work before today.

“There probably wasn’t a fast pace today, they went quite slow early on, and I think that helped us. The horse’s class pulled him through and he looked like he might be beaten at the last.

“He could well go out to grass now. Although he has won in France, I’m not sure there is anything for him out there and while we could go back on the Flat, I’m not sure we want to do that with his temperament because he can be hard to settle.

“I thought both horse and rider did a fantastic performance with Thousand Words.”

Solwhit’s trainer Charles Byrnes added: “We don’t like getting beat but it was a great run and he was probably not doing a lot in front.

“Another horse to have carried him would have helped and the winner won very well.”

There was a second British-trained success at this year’s Punchestown Festival
when Reve De Sivola, trained in Devon by Nick Williams, battled hard to land the Grade 1 Cathal Ryan Memorial Champion Novice Hurdle.

The winner had finished second to Peddlers Cross at Cheltenham and Paul Duffy, who heads the horse’s six-strong ownership syndicate, has big hopes for the future.

“You are looking at the 2012 Gold Cup winner!” said Duffy. “We also have Diamond Harry who will win the 2011 Gold Cup and this horse will be going over fences next season when his target will be the RSA Chase at Cheltenham. We missed Aintree and saved him for this after he was a very good second at Cheltenham.

“His hurdling wasn’t perfect and he missed a couple at the start, but he’s just such a gutsy horse,” said Duffy. “He got boxed in and didn’t look like the winner at the last, he must have been very big odds in-running, but he’s just so competitive.“

Winning jockey Daryl Jacob added: “I was stuck in a pocket three out which didn’t help, but I knew that he wanted to go on and keep galloping.

“He’s very gutsy and I knew that I had that in my favour and I got a good jump at the last and he just kept finding more.”

The previous British-trained winner this week was the Philip Hobbs-trained Planet Of Sound in Wednesday’s Grade 1 Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup.

The unstoppable Willie Mullins had his 10th success of the week when Arvika Ligeonniere took the Star Best For Racing Coverage Novice Hurdle.

“He’s a different horse on this ground and he showed today what’s he’s been showing us at home. The faster pace and ground suits him and he’ll go novice chasing next season now and it looks like he has the speed to be a two-miler,” said Mullins.


Today’s attendance was 28,664, just ahead of the 28,592 on the same day last year.


Classic-winning trainer Michael Bell is delighted with Coordinated Cut as he prepares the Montjeu colt for his next outing en route to his ultimate target, the Group One Investec Derby at Epsom Downs on Saturday, June 5.

The Lawrie Inman-owned colt showed bravery and resolution in winning the lucrative Tattersalls Timeform 3-Y-O Trophy over 10 furlongs at Newmarket on April 14.

Coordinated Cut, a general 16/1 shot for the Investec Derby, battled to a head victory on that occasion and now heads to York for the Group Two Dante Stakes on May 13.

Bell revealed today: “I was very happy with Coordinated Cut’s win at Newmarket - he showed excellent attitude and looks as if he will be certain to get the trip in the Investec Derby. If he passes his next test, he will be a lively contender at Epsom.

“He has taken the race very well. He is an easy horse to train, very uncomplicated and he is bang on target for the Dante providing all continues to go well.”

Bell, who won the Investec Derby in 2005 with Motivator, another son of Montjeu, could also saddle Mont Agel and Prompter in the world’s greatest Flat race on the first Saturday in June.

Mont Agel, whose owner John Pearce came within a whisker of Investec Derby glory with the 2006 runner-up Dragon Dancer, took exception to the starting stalls prior to finishing a lacklustre seventh behind Elusive Pimpernel in the Group Three Craven Stakes at Newmarket on April 15.

Bell reported: “The stalls were a bit of an issue for Mont Agel so we put him in them yesterday morning and he was fine. We are not sure yet where he goes next. We really need some rain for him before we make plans.”

Prompter carried the colours of his sire Motivator’s owners, the Royal Ascot Racing Club, to finish a head second to Dreamspeed in the Investec Derby Trial at Epsom Downs on Thursday, April 21.

For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive

designed and produced by Racenews Internet Services