|Grade 1, Punchestown
4yo, 2m 4f,
|Friday 2nd May 2014|
1 Vautour 1/3F
2 Apache Stronghold 14/1
3 Lieutenant Colonel 7/1
NR: Noble Emperor (IRE)
4 ran Distances: 3½l, 6l, 3¼l
TIME 4m 49.10s (slow by 8.10s)
The Willie Mullins-trained Vautour justified 1/3 favouritism to take the Grade 1 Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle by three and a half lengths from Apache Stronghold.
“At least Jessie hadn’t a runner so that gave us a chance!,” said Mullins. “I’m delighted that he won and if he hadn’t scored as impressively at Cheltenham then we’d say he’d run a lovely race today. But that was certainly nothing like his Cheltenham win.
“He wasn’t nearly as impressive and I don’t think it was the trip. I wasn’t happy with him earlier in the week so maybe that’s connected.
“We have a lot of nice novices so we’ll have to try and plan something for each division next season.”
Jockey Ruby Walsh added: “Vautour was good. He didn’t jump as well as he did today in Cheltenham, but I have a slight suspicion after riding him and Hurricane Fly that the ground was plenty quick enough in Cheltenham for all of our horses. They are just not moving and jumping as well today after being there.
“I know some people were saying they were looking for good ground in Cheltenham, but I would say they were wrong and hope they have learnt their lesson too.
“Vautour lacked that brilliance, but, in fairness, he had it for us in Cheltenham and was probably feeling the effect of that.”
Rich Ricci, whose wife Susannah owns Vautour, said: “He was good. It’s hard at this time of the year. There are so many weird results – I mean Jezki won but Champagne Fever ran no race yesterday. It’s always odd but I am delighted with Vautour today, that was very good. On a day that probably wasn’t his best, I am delighted with him.
“I don’t buy it that Faugheen is better than Vautour although he was better this week. Maybe it was the trip today? We’ll think about it.
“We have lots to look forward to. We’ll have a talk about it and see what we think. Both horses could stay over hurdles next but I saw Un De Sceaux today in the yard and crikey! He was unbelievable. I am not sure where he will go but I wouldn’t want to take him on.
“We have got some decisions to make. We’ll sort it out, sit down, have a think and see what happens. They will be get some sun on their back and will make chasers one day.”
Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1)
€90,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 4f, Class 1
Going: Good to Yielding
|Place||Horse / Trainer||Jockey||Owner||Odds|
||5. Vautour (FR)
| R. Walsh
|Mrs S Ricci||1/3F|
|1. Apache Stronghold
| P. Carberry
|Mrs Patricia Hunt||14/1|
|3. Lieutenant Colonel (GB)
D. T. Hughes
| B.T. O'Connell
|Gigginstown House Stud||7/1|
|2. Lac Fontana (FR)
| N.D. Fehily
||4. Noble Emperor
| A.P. McCoy
|John P. McManus|