WILLIE Mullins and Ruby Walsh had a day of mixed fortunes at Thurles yesterday on an afternoon when Colm Murphy's Quito De La Roque recaptured something more like his true form to win the Grade Two Kinloch Brae Chase.
Mullins and Walsh took the training and riding honours on the biggest day of the year for the popular Tipperary track. But few would have left happier than Murphy, who saw his dual Grade One winner return to winning ways for the first time in five starts and since beating Sizing Europe in the JNWine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal in 2011.
The three Gigginstown House Stud runners were all prominent in the early stages and the owner enjoyed a 1-2 as the Davy Russell-ridden Roi Du Mee followed home six and a half lengths back in second.
Paul Townend never had an anxious moment on the 12/1 winner and afterwards Murphy revealed he had no definitive target for the nine-year-old.
"He is entered everywhere but he doesn't have too many options and I'll see what the lads say. The Hennessy and the Gold Cup are there for him and maybe he'll be a National horse. He's had his fair share of niggly problems -- nothing major but they had us stopping and starting."
Mikael D'Haguenet returned to winning ways and justified his short odds to land the novice chase, although Willie Mullins admitted afterwards that Cheltenham would be an unlikely option for him and the Powers Gold Cup could now be his aim.
Ballycasey was the most impressive winner of the day as he won by three-lengths without Ruby Walsh ever having to get too involved with the six-year-old grey, who is now a likely candidate for the Albert Bartlett.
The day got off to a frustrating start for the Mullins outfit and odds-on backers as the well-supported Djakadam unseated Ruby Walsh despite a miraculous attempt by the rider to maintain the partnership.
Equus Maximus held on gamely to win the last and deny 9/4 favourite Oscar Delta by a neck in the concluding Hunters Chase under Patrick Mullins, providing his father with a treble on the card.