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PUNCHESTOWN FESTIVAL: DAY 2

25 April 2018

Paul Townend silenced his critics by winning his first two rides at Punchestown on Thursday, culminating in a duelling finish in the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle aboard NEXT DESTINATION (IRE). Stepping up to three miles brought out the best in the Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old, who finished third at Cheltenham over three furlongs less at Cheltenham. 

Success was made even sweeter for the winning stable as they denied their main rival, Gordon Elliott, and his charge Delta Work, by a neck, with the same distance back to British raider Kilbricken Storm (IRE) in third. Now owned by Malcolm Denmark, NEXT DESTINATION (IRE) gained his first victory on the Irish point-to-point circuit for John Costello, having been purchased for a mere €8,500 at the Tattersalls Ireland November NH Sale.

The son of Dubai Destination was bred by Niall Flynn and is a grandson of Grade 1 Champion Bumper runner-up Blazing Liss (IRE). They share their page with multiple Grade 1 winner Liss A Paoraigh (IRE). 

Team Mullins took the following feature, the Grade 1 Punchestown Gold Cup, but it was the turn of David Mullins to raise the trophy after driving out BELLSHILL (IRE) to victory. Djakadam completed a 1-2 for the stable and a Grade 1 double on the day for Tattersalls Ireland and Irish point-to-point graduates. Bought by Ian Ferguson for €21,000, he finished second for Colin McKeever before being acquired by current connections.

The son of King’s Theatre (IRE) was bred by Yellowford Farm’s Frank Motherway out of a Be My Native daughter of Listed runner-up Amy Fairy. She is a half-sister to the dams of Grade 1 second Be My Leader (IRE) and top-class chaser One Man (IRE), from the family of One Track Mind (IRE) and Power Gold Cup hero Persian Wanderer.

The following Grade 1, surprise, surprise, also went to Team Mullins- in fact they had a 1-2-3, as TORNADO FLYER (IRE) overturned Cheltenham form when taking the Grade 1 Racing Post Champion Bumper under Richie Deegan. Third last month, he beat the fifth, Blackbow (IRE), by a length and a quarter on Wednesday, with a further length and three quarters back to last month’s runner-up, Carefully Selected (IRE). 

The son of Flemensfirth was bred by Sweetmans Bloodstock out of a half-sister to the great Hurricane Fly (IRE). The mare, who is by Exceed And Excel, has a four-year-old full-sister to the Grade 1 winner, a three-year-old sister by Fame And Glory and two siblings by Walk In The Park (IRE). TORNADO FLYER (IRE) was bought by Peter and Ross Doyle for €63,000 at the Goffs Land Rover Sale, having been sold as a foal by Grange Stud for €30,000 three years earlier at the venue’s December NH Sale.

Bringing the Mullins haul to five wins in the Grade A Guinness Handicap Chase was PATRICK’S PARK (IRE), who came with a late run under Paul Townend to beat Robert Tyner’s Blast Of Keoman (IRE) by a neck. The seven-year-old has rapidly improved since moving to Closutton, winning a valuable chase at Leopardstown on his second start for connections. Bred by Kilnamoragh Stud, he is by former Clohamon Stud resident Insatiable (IRE), also the sire of his dam’s half-sister Remember Rose (IRE), a multiple Grade 1 winner in France.

Success in the Grade 3 Weatherbys Mares Bumper saw Willie Mullins win six of the seven races on the card, courtesy of COLREEVY (IRE), bred and owned by the Flynn family. The win was well-deserved, with the five-year-old having finished a fine seventh in the Grade 1 bumper at Cheltenham, as well as finishing third in a Grade 2 earlier in the year. 

Completing a Graded double for Flemensfirth, COLREEVY (IRE) is one of three black-type performers out of her dam, being a half-sister to Grade B winner Spider Web (IRE) and Grade 2 performer Runfordave (IRE). Their Saddler’s Hall dam is a half-sister to Grade 1 hurdler Snap Tie (IRE), while the third dam is the talented dual-purpose performer Ravaro.

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