Punchestown Festival 2013  

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Mount Benbulben Conquers Growise

1 Mount Benbulben 14/1
2 Tofino Bay 9/1
3 Lyreen Legend 8/1
8 ran Distances: 22l, hd, 8l
TIME 6m 45.20s (slow by 30.20s)

The highly regarded Mount Benbulben finally came of age over fences with a superb performance in the Growise Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown under Danny Mullins.

Mount Benbulben
© Caroline Norris

Mount Benbulben

Gordon Elliott's eight-year-old had won just two of his previous eight starts over the larger obstacles, with a series of jumping issues stalling his progress.

However, Mount Benbulben (14-1) fenced far more fluently than has often been the case and kicked clear in the home straight to take the Grade One prize by an emphatic 22 lengths.

The Dessie Hughes-trained pair of Tofino Bay and Lyreen Legend - who was badly hampered by the fall of Dedigout - were second and third respectively, but National Hunt Chase scorer Back In Focus was disappointing.

On this occasion it was a number of Mount Benbulben's rivals who were struggling in the jumping department, with the early fall of Dedigout also taking British raider Harry Topper out of the race, while Boston Bob came to grief later in the contest.

Mullins was celebrating turning 21 and was sung 'Happy Birthday' on his way back into the winner's enclosure, having clinched the first Grade One of his riding career.

Elliott said: "We always thought he was a good horse, but his jumping has been his trouble. Everyone has done a great job at home. He's had his critics, but he's got an engine.

"He has to go right-handed, so he'll have a few options, but I'll have to talk to Barry (Connell, owner) about it."

Paddy Power quote Mount Benbulben at 20-1 for next season's King George VI Chase at Kempton.



The Growise Champion Novice Steeplechase
3m 1f , Race Win Time: 6:45.2, Race Value: €80,000
8 ran
Going: Heavy

Place Horse Trainer Jockey Odds
6. Mount Benbulben
b g Beneficial (GB) - Dramatic Dame
8, 11-10
Gordon Elliott D.E. Mullins 14/1
22 Lengths
7. Tofino Bay
br g Bishop Of Cashel (GB) - Boyne View
(Cheek Piece)
10, 11-10
D. T. Hughes A.E. Lynch 9/1
5. Lyreen Legend
b g Saint des Saints (FR) - Bint Bladi (FR)
6, 11-10
D. T. Hughes B.J. Cooper 8/1
8 Lengths
1. Back In Focus
ch g Bob Back (USA) - Dun Belle
8, 11-10
W.P. Mullins R. Walsh 2/1 F
16 Lengths
8. Argocat
b g Montjeu - Spirit Of South (AUS)
5, 11-1
T.J. Taaffe B.J. Geraghty 16/1
2. Boston Bob
b g Bob Back (USA) - Bavaway
8, 11-10
W.P. Mullins P. Townend 4/1
3. Dedigout
b g Bob Back (USA) - Dainty Daisy
7, 11-10
A.J.Martin D.N. Russell 9/2
4. Harry Topper (GB)
b g Sir Harry Lewis (USA) - Indeed To Goodness
6, 11-10
Kim Bailey (in GB) J.M. Maguire 9/2
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