Classy Vedette steals show at Punchestown
Colm Murphy's Voler La Vedette was the real star on show at Punchestown yesterday and she began her campaign in the best possible way, and with plenty of room for improvement according to her trainer.
Over 2m2f, Murphy's classy individual settled beautifully in the hands of Barry Gergaghty and despite drifting like a barge in the morning prices, she obliged at generous odds of 6/4, with Star Wood three-lengths back in second and Elyaadi third.
Murphy revealed afterwards: "I'm delighted to get that out of the way as she came here a little bit undercooked having finished last season a bit overcooked!
"I would like to think she should improve from that run and the Maddigans and Dobbins Morgiana Hurdle is the obvious race for her now."
The inclusion of ear-plugs was a big plus Murphy added: "She settled like a lamb and the ear-plugs worked wonders.
"She went around the place like a scalded cat last year and had her race run before she left the parade ring..
"We won't travel her until after Christmas and her next couple of runs will tell us where we go, we won't be getting too carried away just yet. She was a filly last year and is a mare this year."
The Mouse Morris trained First Lieutenant made his hurdling debut last month at Navan under a heave of anticipation after he won a point-to-point and bumper last season.
He finished fourth on that occasion and was yesterday sent off the 1/2 favourite to open his account over hurdles.
Despite being hotly pressed by White Star Line, he failed to disappoint and stayed on best off all after the last.
The winning trainer Mouse Morris was clearly delighted to get the win under his belt and it's clear that the cliché 'anything over hurdles is a bonus' is evident for the Gigginstown House Stud owned five-year-old.
"He is still a big baby and has to learn what racing is all about. The ground was probably quick enough for him and we will go three-miles with him next. He couldn't do much more today and he wont jump fences until next season," Morris said.
Noel Meade's Muirhead made his chasing debut on the cards finale and despite looking held at the last, Paul Carberry got the best out of the former Grade One winning hurdler to get him up by a neck at odds of 2/5.
The seven-year-old has only ever finished out of the first five on one occasion -- that being at Cheltenham when he was joint favourite for the Supreme Novices Hurdle won by Captain Cee Bee -- but it was his first since December 2007.
"He jumped brilliant and that's what the whole thing is about," Meade explained. "You'd probably expect him to win easier, but he got a bit tried and I didn't have him tuned up fully but wanted to get a run into before the heavy ground as I'm not sure he likes that.
"I suppose we will give him three weeks and go for a winners with him. I think he wants a good gallop and test of stamina, but not over 3m on heavy ground."
Curragh based Paul Magnier has done a fantastic job with his versatile Duers who won an eighth race yesterday, just four days after finishing fourth in the Munster National at Limerick.
Charles O'Brien claimed the opener with Accidental Outlaw under Mark Walsh for JP McManus, while Colin Bowe claimed the bumper when Our Victoria was aided by a determined Barry O'Neill in the saddle.