WHERE It All Began continued Gordon Elliott’s excellent record in the QuinnBet Grand National Trial Handicap Chase with an ultra tough staying performance in the €100,000 three-mile-three-furlong contest.

The son of Yeats, owned in partnership by Patrick and Scott Bryceland and the McNeill Family, was placed on his previous two outings this season and really relished this step up in trip to give his trainer a fifth success here in the last seven years.

The 10/1 shot appeared to be struggling approaching the straight but really got motoring before the last and stayed on strongly on the run-in under Jack Kennedy to ultimately beat 5/4 favourite We’llhavewan by 16 lengths, with Clonmeen a further five lengths back in third.

Kennedy, who was getting right down to his minimum riding weight of 10st 5lb, said: “He jumped great and never missed a beat the whole way. It probably looked turning in that I was going to finish third, but stamina really kicked in when we straightened up. He’d been running well and threatened to do something like that. He’s not reliant on heavy ground, just a test of stamina is what he wants.”

Elliott outlined plans afterwards saying: “He could go for the Kim Muir at Cheltenham or an Irish National. It was a good performance, and he stays really well.”

The Meath trainer later completed a double of sorts when The Goffer landed the Up The Yard Challenge Race for stable and stud staff. The smart handicap chaser was given a patient ride by Emma Gilligan to beat stablemate Samui by five lengths and Elliott commented: “Emma has been with me for years. She is a great girl and is one of our barn managers. She didn’t panic and gave him a great spin.

“It’s a brilliant race for the staff who all work very hard. The Goffer will go for the Ultima at Cheltenham.”


Buachaillbocht, one of five winning favourites on the card, followed up a recent course and distance win in the David Trundley Artist At Punchestown Novice Handicap Hurdle.

The J.P. McManus-owned 7/4 shot looked set for a comfortable success early in the straight but idled in front and needed to be ridden out by Mark Walsh to hold off He’s Home Again by half-a-length.

“He’s going the right way. He’s won three now and might win another one,” said local trainer Ted Walsh. “He’s a grand stamp of a horse, jumps well and if he takes to fences there is a nice chase in him down the line.”

Tullyhill highlights four-timer

WILLIE Mullins dominated the remainder of the card with a four-timer highlighted by the listed race success of Tullyhill in the Madigan Group Irish EBF Sheila Bourke Novice Hurdle. The Cheveley Park Stud-owned gelding has steadily improved in three hurdle outings this term and impressed here making all and taking command from before the last to beat No Flies On Him by nine lengths.

“He has a fair engine and we just needed to give him confidence jumping,” said Mullins of the 6/5 favourite. “David Casey was given that job and has done a right job. He’s entitled to go anywhere after a performance like that.

“I thought he’d be an out-an-out stayer but he has plenty of speed, and now his jumping is starting to match his cruising speed. He’s in the Supreme and I’ll have a word with connections and see what they would like to do.”

The six-year-old grey is a top-priced 4/1 second favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle behind stablemate Ballyburn.


Paul Townend was also aboard Susannah Ricci’s Mister Policeman who readily landed the odds in the opening two-mile Concept Colours Rated Novice Chase. The 1/2 favourite asserted approaching the final fence and kept on well to beat Arctic Bresil by a comfortable six lengths.

Mullins said: “He’s still learning to jump, and he’ll probably be better going out in trip at some stage. It will leave him nicely set up for the spring. I’d imagine he’ll stay at home and there are plenty of good races to be won. He could go for a novice handicap.”

Townend completed a treble on the day and is now 12 behind Kennedy (108-96) in the jump jockeys’ championship after Paggane rallied strongly in the straight and took full advantage of a mistake at the last by Cut The Rope to beat that rival by four lengths in the Old House Kill Maiden Hurdle.

Sounds Victorius capped off the Mullins four-timer in what proved a thrilling finish to the Lockton Insurance Brokers Supporting Athy Rugby Flat Race, with the Patrick Mullins-ridden 10/11 favourite finishing best between horses to touch off Masterboy Davis by a head with Inn At The Park three-quarters of a length back in third.

“You could see he was learning all the way up the straight (on debut) at Leopardstown,” Mullins said of the Bruton Street-owned five-year-old. “He did it the hard way today but is obviously full of stamina.”

Chief makes backers sweat with a hard fought win

THOSE brave enough to support 2/9 favourite Senior Chief in the QuinnBet Beginners Chase were made to sweat for their winnings as the hot-pot was ridden and a length down at the final fence. However, the seven-year-old found enough on the run-in to beat Duffle Coat by three-quarters of a length.

“Rachael (Blackmore) said once she turned in she knew it was ok but I’m not so sure,” said trainer Henry de Bromhead. “He looked laboured, and Rachael said it’s tough old ground.

“He’s done little wrong in fairness to him, and we’ll look for a handicap now. I’m delighted for the lads (Lucky In Life Syndicate) who are great supporters and a lot of them work at Regeneron in Limerick.”