Henry Daly’s consistent 6yo Queen Spud was a solid 15/8 max bet for us on Tuesday taking the lucky last at a windy Fakenham given a positive ride by Jake Greenall landing some tasty bets after turning in a career-best effort. Silver Wings done at 1.03 on Betfair in-running at Chester on Wednesday in the Lily Agnes Stakes left me frozen to my seat and must be a sprinter to keep on the right side this summer. Diamondsandrubies (2/1 with the milkman) given a text-book ride by Ryan Moore, the well bred filly is now 12/1 for the Oaks at Epsom. Gleneagles 4/1 (tipped-up in last weeks news letter) stormed to victory in the 2,000 Guineas at HQ last weekend after drifting out to 6/1 in the betting ring due to sweating badly in the paddock and going to post.
Aidan O’Brien has now won the 2,000 seven times, the trainer said ”He was always an exceptional horse.”
The Irish wizard Willie Mullins went into the feature Grade 1 BoyleSports Champion Chase three-handed and it was Felix Yonger who fared best of his trio when getting up in the two-mile contest’s closing stages to beat Baily Green by half a length on day one of the Punchestown Festival last week and by the end of the week Mullins had won a record 16 winners at the Festival including 10 Grade 1 races.
The trainer’s nephew Danny, back from a successful trip to America, was in the saddle aboard the 5/1 shot.
“It’s great for Danny, who is riding full of confidence,” said Willie Mullins. “He gave the horse a breather down the back straight, bided his time and waited for him to fill his lungs up again. It paid off and they are a great partnership.”
“It was an open race and slightly depended which of them got the bounce of the ball. Ruby (Walsh on Champagne Fever) slipped at the first and they were never right after that. Paul (Townend) on Twinlight hit a wing. I knew the goodish ground would suit Felix and I doubt he’ll go to France, we’ll probably put him away now.”
Danny Mullins added: “I rode four winners over the last couple of weekends in America and I’m very grateful to Willie for putting me in for some good rides. It’s great to win a Grade 1 at the Punchestown Festival.”
“Felix Yonger tends to hit a flat spot in his races, it was the same the day I rode him at Cork last season. The engine is there when you want it and he was very quick over the last two.”
Owner Graham Wylie added: “Felix Yonger is a two and a half miler really but when they went off at such a lick, we thought it might play to his strengths.”
“Danny gave him a peach of a ride and got him into a great rhythm. He jumped well and had a bit left in the tank to finish off at the end of the race. It was a nice surprise.”
“Danny is a very good young jockey and has won twice now on this horse. I am delighted for him and for Willie and the team – it was a good training performance.”
“It is a great way to start the week and hopefully it can continue.”
Willie Mullins completed a clean sweep in the day’s three Grade 1s when 15/2 chance Valseur Lidocarried Gigginstown House Stud’s colours to victory. The winner’s stablemate Don Poli, who was sent off 4/9 favourite, finished fifth of the five runners.
“I think Valseur Lido probably preferred that ground more than Don Poli, it could have been a bit lively for him,” said Mullins. “I think Don Poli wants a longer trip and the Gold Cup is over a fair long trip.”
“I always thought Valseur Lido was a fair horse, he’s not too bad on his day even if he doesn’t have quite the same constitution as Don Poli.”
Owner Michael O’Leary added: “Valseur Lido was rubbish in Fairyhouse at Easter – he jumped like a dog and scoped badly. I thought he had no chance here today but Willie thought he would improve for a bit more distance.”
“Don Poli was disappointing but Bryan (Cooper) said he never really gave him a feel and was just not 100 per cent.”
Wounded Warrior (2nd) ran a very nice race. The Gordon Elliott’ trained Don Cossack rounded off the season in style by winning the Punchestown Gold Cup on the Wednesday beating Djakadam by seven lengths and is now as low as 7/1 with Betfred for the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The machine Jezki beat his old rival Hurricane Fly in the World Series Hurdle last Thursday and is now 8/1 for Cheltenham next March.
Faugheen at 1/6 made all to take the Champion Hurdle on the Friday for the Mullins camp at the festival.The smart Music Master has been backed this week (7/1 from 9/1 with Paddy Power) for the Duke Of York Logistic Stakes at York next week.
Night Of Thunder has been well supported this week at 5/2 with the high street bookmakers for the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury next weekend.
At Ascot on Saturday in the Victoria Cup Dream Spirit has been all the rage (10/1 from 12/1 with Betfred).
Yours in sport
Back Next Thursday.
Kevan Minter – The Colonel.