The return of Yorkhill certainly added plenty of spice to a Tuesday Clonmel fixture, and while he ran okay he was outpointed by stablemate Acapella Bourgeois and Paul Townend.
The winner had been an exciting novice chaser when with Sandra Hughes, but had failed to really sparkle since joining Willie Mullins. Clipped from 9/4 to 7/4 in brisk trading, he went in front at the second fence and won snugly enough from Yorkhill.
Ruby Walsh accepted his fate on the runner up and was not too hard on him once his chance was gone.
It was a satisfactory return, but no more than that, and with Aintree coming up so quickly Mullins will have to decide whether to go to Liverpool or draw up stumps for the season as going right handed at Fairyhouse or Punchestown won’t suit.
Little doubt that if he stays sound in the meantime Yorkhill will be winning races again next season, but whether he will again scale the dizzy heights we saw when he won the Neptune and the JLT is a different matter entirely. Good to see him back just the same.
Backing odds on is not normally a recommended road to travel but 4/5 for Annamix in the opening maiden hurdle looking incredible value and so it proved.
Townend took him to the front two out, and despite a mistake at the last he won comfortably enough from a very decent yardstick Raya Time, who was sent off a 9/4 fancy.
Mullins said: “Annamix will be kept on the go and will race wherever he can during the summer.”
“I’m looking forward to going over fences with him next year” he added.
All the money in the concluding bumper – 11/8 to evens – was for Royal Thief but alas the readies all stayed in the bookies satchels as Henry de Bromhead’s runner, who had every chance turning for home, had to settle for third place.
Declan Lavery, much in the news lately, steered home easy to back 11/1 shot Conflated to win for Gordon Elliott.
Lavery said: “He can be tricky, but is getting the hang of things, and I’d say when there is a hurdle in front of him he will be better again.”