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Thursday 14 December 2017

Vinny speed still dazzles

DESPITE nearly two years on the sidelines, Cousin Vinny eased to victory on his return in the Festival Free Upgrade Offer Ends Today Hurdle at Punchestown.

The Willie Mullins-trained 2008 Champion Bumper had not been seen in competitive action since finishing behind stablemate Quevega at the 2010 Punchestown Festival, but was still sent off the 8-11 favourite.

Ruby Walsh eased his mount to the front between the final two obstacles and while he fluffed his lines at the last, he soon recovered to beat Won In The Dark by three and a quarter lengths.

"He showed his class when he straightened up going to the last and had a change of gear. I was amazed at the speed he showed and how he has retained it is extraordinary," said Mullins.

"We'll find another conditions race for him now, something similar, and will be aimed more towards the Punchestown Festival."

A run-of-the-mill handicap hurdle at Ludlow had huge consequences for in-running and outright punters thanks to the 100-1 winner Tayarat in the Henley Hall Gold Cup Handicap Hurdle.

A first winner for amateur Alice Mills, Tayarat was challenged by J'Adhere on the run-in but pulled away again to score by two and a quarter lengths.

The seven-year-old traded at far bigger odds on Betfair, and their spokesman Tony Calvin said: "The Betfair winning SP was a massive 769-1, and there was £40 matched on the winner at our maximum odds of 999-1 pre-race and it was also backed at 839-1 in running. It was as big a shock as you will get on Betfair."

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