herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Punchestown 2015: Vic victory proves to be a pleasant surprise for Mullins

Trainer Willie Mullins
Trainer Willie Mullins

Willie Mullins left Punchestown yesterday with five of the six Grade Ones from the first two days in the bag as Killultagh Vic continued his progression to claim the three-mile novice hurdle and Bellshill surprised even the trainer himself by winning the Champion Bumper under son Patrick.

Shaneshill was the stable preference in the Grade One hurdle but despite travelling strongly throughout he just fell short and possibly didn’t see out the three-mile trip he was testing for the first time.

Paul Townend’s mount came on the outside and kept going all the way to hold the renewed challenge of Thistlecrack by half a length.  Mullins said: “He’s a good stayer and I’m not sure if we’ll stick to hurdling or go over fences next season. The plan had been to go chasing but we’ll look at what’s around for the staying hurdles and then decide.

Paul was fantastic, he kept his mount asleep and used Ruby (Walsh on Shaneshill) as his lead horse!”

Bellshill was sent for home three- furlongs out by Patrick Mullins and from there never looked in bother in the Champion Bumper.

“I thought Patrick was brave picking him and brave picking up the lead when he did but they were brave decisions that worked,” said Willie.

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