QUICK Grabim provided Willie Mullins with an eighth victory in the Grade 1 baroneracing.com Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
It is 20 years since the champion trainer first landed this prize with Alexander Banquet and he has since extended his tally with the likes of Hurricane Fly (2008) and Nichols Canyon (2014).
He appeared to hold a strong hand once again, with Quick Grabim a heavily-supported even-money favourite under Ruby Walsh, despite finishing fourth behind reopposing stablemate Aramon in the For Auction Novice Hurdle at Navan three weeks ago.
On that occasion Quick Grabim finished with a rattle from the rear, but Walsh sent his mount straight to the lead stepping up to the top level and steadily raised the tempo.
Commander Of Fleet and Aramon loomed up looking dangerous early in the home straight, but the further Quick Grabim went the better he looked and he passed the post three and three-quarter lengths clear of the staying-on Triplicate.
Aramon was third, with Command Of Fleet finishing last of the four runners.
Quick Grabim carries the colours of the Worcester family made famous by 1997 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Mr Mulligan, and Mullins said: “I thought Ruby was tactically brilliant today.
“He jumped out in front and saw there was no pace. We were hoping someone else might make the pace, so Ruby made the running, slowed it down and then caught them on the hop. He had the horse to do it.
“He got him settled and Ruby had him jumping so slick and that was probably the winning of the race.
“We tried something in Navan (holding him up) and it didn’t work, and he was 7lbs better off today. Ruby had two plans going out and he went to Plan B as we thought the Gigginstown horse (Commander Of Fleet) might make it.
“Leopardstown is the obvious place to go after here. His owner missed her flight over today, so I better tell her to book her flight early next time!”
BoyleSports went 14/1 from 25/1 about Quick Grabim for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, with RaceBets 20/1 from 33s.
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