AN amazing 2017-18 National Hunt season, and an even more remarkable Punchestown Festival meeting, drew to a close last Saturday. Surprise, surprise, both Grade 1 races on the day were won by Willie Mullins, in each case with a well-related French-bred. Both winners are owned by Susannah Ricci.

The Grade 1 EBF Annie Power Mares Hurdle saw the seven-year-old Benie Des Dieux (Great Pretender) add to her Cheltenham success in the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle and she was winning these races having come back to hurdling from a chasing career that saw her land blacktype races at Naas and Carlisle.