MYSTICAL Power became the new favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle after a smooth win the Grade 2 SkyBet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday.

The son of Galileo and Champion Hurdle winner Annie Power has big shoes to fill, but it was hard not to be impressed with him here on his first run since he made his debut over hurdles at the Galway Summer Festival.

Held up last of the four, the 5/4 favourite raced keenly and jumped sketchy through the first half of this two-mile contest, but he was going much the best heading into the straight and easily dispatched of Jigoro before the last, going on to win by seven lengths, with a further 19 lengths back to James’s Gate and Lombron who was last of the four.


The J.P. McManus-owned five-year-old was initially declared to run in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle but following the postponement of that contest, he showed up here instead. He will need to jump better at Cheltenham but he clearly has an engine, and his trainer usually uses this race for one of his smarter novice hurdlers.

Mullins wasn’t present, so assistant trainer David Casey commented: “I was very impressed with him, he wouldn’t show that at home and seems to save his best for the track, which is a great trait.

“Mark rode him a couple of weeks ago and thought he had improved hugely from when he had ridden him earlier in the year - he showed that today.

“At the moment you probably wouldn’t go any further than two miles until you have to. Mark said he rides a lot quicker on the track than he does at home.

“I know the (McManus) camp have the second favourite (Jeriko Du Reponet) for the Supreme as well so they might want to split them up. We’ll get him home, check him out and then Willie will decide plans in a couple of weeks.”

Mullins doubled up later on the card when Lisnagar Fortune took the SkyBet Acca Freeze Maiden Hurdle.

The 10/11 favourite had his form significantly boosted by ‘Lawlor’s’ winner Readin Tommy Wrong, who only beat him a short head at Cork, and he showed a good attitude to make all here, especially when Jasko Des Dames and stablemate Mercurey challenged heading into the straight.

“From getting beaten a few times he has plenty of experience going forwards,” said the winning rider Paul Townend. “He’ll end up going further but he was too keen. He’s starting to race now and to learn. He’ll end up going back out in trip in time but I’m not sure if it’s the right time yet.”

Tower too good for Destiny

FOR much of the extended two-mile-three-furlong Grade 3 Betting Better With SkyBet Novice Chase, the odds-on Blood Destiny looked set to make it two out of two over fences, jumping smoothly in front again, however he had no answer to the challenge of Spillane’s Tower (7/1) in the straight, and though the advantage was only two lengths at the line, Jimmy Mangan’s gelding was good value for that.

The J.P. McManus-owned six-year-old had settled in behind the leaders for Mark Walsh, and was probably a little outpaced before the fourth last, but once back on an even keel, Walsh displayed notable confidence and came up the inside of the favourite to win comfortably in the end - with Con O’Keeffe’s mare Silent Approach running a stormer in third.

Fine prospect

Quoted at 20/1 for the Turners Novices’ Chase, there was no solid talk of Cheltenham in the aftermath, but this son of Walk In The Park is a fine prospect for his Grand National-winning trainer.

“He jumped well, they went a good gallop and he stayed well,” said the owner’s representative Frank Berry. “You could only be pleased with him. I’d say the step up in trip was a big help to him. Mark said he was a bit flat out early on but he got home well.

“We’ve no plans, we’ll see where he goes and where he slots in. It’s nice to see Jimmy with a nice horse, all his runs have been good and he’s improving all the time.”

Hardwired (11/4 joint-favourite) was a somewhat fortunate winner of SkyBet Build A Bet Amateur National Handicap Chase for Alex Harvey and Ted Walsh.

The Zorka Wentworth-owned grey travelled well from a prominent position. He went on with joint-favourite Bonnie Kellie early in the straight but that rival looked to be travelling much better until she near upended herself at the second last and lost her winning chance from there.

“He’s a lucky old horse but he’s a bit of a toe-rag,” said the winning trainer. “I’d say he was beaten as the horse (Bonnie Kellie) looked to be cantering alongside him. He (Harvey) said he wasn’t doing a stroke and when the horse disappeared he nearly pulled himself up.

“He’s after winning three now though and he is out of a good mare (Summer Star) who Katie used to ride and she won four times on.”

Dempsey eyeing Ulster National for strong stayer Kates Hill

KATES Hill (5/2 favourite) produced a strong staying performance to win the opening Total Event Rental Beginners Chase for Donagh Meyler and Philip Dempsey.

The Patrick Smyth-owned mare was pushed along turning for home in the extended two-mile-six-furlong contest but she gave generously on the stands’ side for Meyler and was able to hold the consistent Rolly Bowley Boy to a half length.

She had finished second to subsequent winner Money Heist in a two-mile handicap chase at Naas previously but raced as if she was all about this longer trip and her trainer is keen to go further again.

He said: “There is novice handicap at Naas at the end of the month and the Ulster National could be a plan, as going distances would be her thing.

“She backed up her Naas run and she’s a great jumper. She’s a lovely mare and she won well there.”

The Sam Curling-trained mare Idol landed a touch in the SkyBet Request A Bet Mares Handicap Hurdle.

This daughter of Jukebox Jury was bred and trained to win a bumper for Willie Mullins before coming to Curling’s yard. She had three runs in maiden hurdles, showing some ability in the middle of those at this track, and was scoring here on her handicap debut off a mark of 97.

She got the better of a sustained battle with Mitivia, showing plenty after the last to score by a length and three quarters. It won’t be a surprise if she wins again this term.

The longest priced winner of the day was the Shark Hanlon-trained Easy Bucks (18/1) in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Chase.

The nine-year-old was previously trained by Peter Bowen, for whom he won four times, and was having his first start for Shark and his first start in 438 days. He showed a fine attitude by making all for rider Shane Fenelon who said afterwards: “I’d say he can go up in trip and he’s fairly ground versatile as he’s done all his winning on good ground.

“Mickey Bowen, who is (jockeys) Sean and James’ brother, works with us in Shark’s and brought the horse over. Mickey and Abby have done all the work with him.”