The opening Tipperary flat meeting of the year a few weeks ago had seen a stunning performance by first timer Sir Dragonet, a serious market drifter who romped home at 14/1, a result which shocked and delighted his Ballydoyle connections.
He brought it to another level again during the week when winning the Chester Vase from way off the pace and is now a warm favourite for the Epsom Derby.
Needless to say he was the talk of the town at Tipp on Thursday, a jumps meeting this time where perhaps Brahma Bull was the one to note. The Willie Mullins trained eight year old has been very difficult to train, but patience is a keyword at Closutton and the 13/8 favourite delivered in style in the beginners chase.
Brian Hayes did the steering and from what Patrick Mullins said some of the bigger names in the Mullins yard did not put up their hands to ride him as he has clearly had jumping issues at home.
“He has a big engine but hasn’t been easy to train and is hard on himself. He’s an awkward sort but Brian got a nice rhythm going with him” Patrick said.
He will step up in class a bit now, though possibly over a shorter trip than the three miles covered on Thursday.
Punters were also on target in the opener where even money jolly Carrie Des Champs delivered for Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy. The Robin Des Champs mare was different gravy, though untidy jumps at the last two hurdles did not help her cause.
Gavin Cromwell is probably still coming to terms with training a Champion Hurdle winner, and while his Rip Van Winkle gelding Cray will never mix it at anything like that level, he paid his way in style here justifying support from 9/1 into “fives.”
The Robert Tyner trained Pack Your Bags was sent off a generous 11/2 when winning for the third time his last four races. The money here was all for Commandant but the Joseph O’Brien trained 100/30 market leader never really landed a blow for Rachael Blackmore and finished sixth.
So Ryan Moore is always on the best one? Yeah, right… Declan’s winners this week included Sir Dragonet 8/1 (won 13/2) and Magna Grecia 11/2. Other recent winners on the flat were Njord (a reserve!) 8/1 (w 9/2), I Am Superman 6/1 (w 9/2), Happen 11/4 and Circus Maximus 5/4. His Punchestown gems included Pearl Of The West 20/1 (w 12/1); Front View 5/1; Chacun Pour Soi 9/2 (w 3/1); Un De Sceaux 3/1 (w 11/4); Zero Ten 13/8 (w 5/4) and Gypsy Island 13/8 (w 11/10).
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