KPMG Champion Novice Hurdle
Grade 1, Punchestown 16:15
€125,000 guaranteed
5yo plus
2m 100y, Class 1   
Tuesday 25th April 2023


1 Facile Vega 4/6F
2 Il Etait Temps 100/30
3 No Looking Back 66/1
5 ran Distances: 7½l, 10l, 6l
Time: 4m 0.80s (slow by 11.80s)

Facile Vega has plenty live up to as a son of the great racemare Quevega, who won six times at Punchestown to go with her six victories in the Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Facile Vega has largely upheld family honour, winning four bumpers and his first two starts over hurdles, but lost his unbeaten record when well held at Leopardstown in February and was ultimately no match for Marine Nationale when favourite to bounce back in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last month.

Despite those successive defeats, the Walk In The Park gelding was unsurprisingly short odds to end his season on a high back on home soil at 4-6 – and while a mistake three flights from home would have have had his supporters sweating, Paul Townend’s mount soon came back on the bridle and coasted clear in the straight.

Facile Vega’s stablemate Il Etait Temps was seven and a half lengths adrift in second at the line, while another Willie Mullins runner, Diverge – third in the Supreme – weakened tamely after making much of the running and finished a tailed off last of five.

Trainers Quotes

Mullins said: “I’ve always thought the world of him, he has huge ability and I’m looking forward to him going over fences next year.

“Paul thinks he doesn’t have much respect for hurdles and he could always do that type of thing even schooling at home. He thinks he’ll have far more respect for fences.

“I said to Paul to be very positive on him because he has a huge, long stride. He gallops and is able to quicken off that.

“His pedigree would suggest he can go out to three miles any day of the week and I know he has enough pace to go two miles so we will let the horse tell us as he learns the game in the autumn.”

Townend said: “We got a bit of a fright at the third-last, but he lengthened well down the straight for me again.

“We got it right today and he showed the true horse.”

Champion Novice Hurdle
€125,000 guaranteed, 5yo plus, 2m 100y, Class 1
5 ran

Going: Yielding to Soft

1     Facile Vega 6 11-12 W P Mullins Paul Townend 4/6F
Il Etait Temps 5 11-12 W P Mullins Danny Mullins 100/30
10 No Looking Back 5 11-12 Oliver McKiernan Phillip Enright 66/1
6 Found A Fifty 6 11-12 Gordon Elliott Jordan Gainford 28/1
84 Diverge 5 11-12 W P Mullins Mr P W Mullins 4/1

Past Results:

Year Horse/SP Age/Wt Owner Trainer Jockey
2022 Mighty Potter 20/1 5-11-12
Caldwell Construction Ltd
Gordon Elliott Jack Kennedy
2021 Echoes In The Rain 8/13F 5-11-07
Barnane Stud
Willie Mullins Mr P W Mullins
2020 Abandoned
2019 Klassical Dream 8/13F 5-11-12
Mrs Joanne Coleman
Willie Mullins R Walsh
2018 Draconien 25/1 5-11-12
Clipper Logistics Group Ltd
Willie Mullins N D Fehily
2017 Cilaos Emery 8/1 5-11-12
Luke McMahon
Willie Mullins David Mullins
2016 Don't Touch It 16/1 6-11-12
J P McManus
Mrs J Harrington B J Geraghty
2015 Douvan 1/6F 5-11-12
Susannah Ricci
Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh
2014 Faugheen 1/2F 6-11-12
Susannah Ricci
Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh
2013 Jezki 2/1 5-11-12
J P McManus
Jessica Harrington Barry Geraghty
2012 Alderwood 5/2 8-11-12
J P McManus
Tom Mullins A P McCoy
2011 Shot From The Hip 11/2 7-11-12
J P McManus
Edward O’Grady A P McCoy
2010 Blackstair
Susannah Ricci
Willie Mullins Paul Townend
2009 Hurricane Fly 4/6 Fav 5-11-12
George Creight
on/Rose Boyd Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh
2008 Jered 7/4 Fav 6-11-12
J P McManus
Noel Meade A P McCoy
2007 Clopf 7/4 Fav 6-11-12
Bernard Heffernan
Edward O’Grady Barry Geraghty
2006 Iktitaf 8/1 5-11-11
Mrs Pat Sloan
Noel Meade Ruby Walsh
2005 Wild Passion 7/4 Fav 5-11-11
Des Sharkey
Noel Meade Paul Carberry
2004 Brave Inca 2/1 Fav 6-11-12
Novices Syndicate
Colm Murphy Barry Cash
2003 Back In Front 4/11 Fav 6-11-12
Dermot Cox
Edward O’Grady Norman Williamson
2002 Scottish Memories 11/4 6-11-12
Mary Halligan
Noel Meade Paul Carberry
*2001 Ned Kelly 4/5 Fav 5-11-11
Sue Magnier
Edward O’Grady Norman Williamson
2000 Moscow Flyer 10/1 6-12-00 Brian Kearney Jessica Harrington Barry Geraghty
1999 Cardinal Hill 1/2 Fav 5-11-13
J P McManus
Noel Meade Charlie Swan
1998 His Song 6/4 5-11-13
David Lloyd
Mouse Morris A P McCoy
1997 Midnight Legend 7/4 Fav 6-12-00
Hilda Clarke
David Nicholson GB Richard Johnson
1996 Dance Beat 7/2 5-11-08
Mrs E Queally
Jessica Harrington John Shortt
1995 Hotel Minella 5/4 Fav 8-12-00
John J Nallen
Aidan O’Brien Charlie Swan
1994 Klairon Davis 7/4 Fav 5-11-13
Chris Jones
Arthur Moore Tom Horgan
1993 Bayrouge 7/2 5-11-08
Joe Crowley
Anne-Marie O’Brien Richard Dunwoody
1992 Fortune And Fame 11/4 Fav 5-11-13
Michael Smurfit
Dermot Weld Brendan Sheridan
1991 Young Pokey 5/2 6-12-00
Maurice Oberstein
Oliver Sherwood GB Jamie Osborne
1990 Vestris Abu 5/2 4-10-05
Mrs C Shubotham
Jim Bolger Charlie Swan
1989 The Proclamation 9/2 6-10-13
J M Whaley
Paddy Prendergast Richard Dunwoody
1988 El-Sid Senor 9/4 Fav 5-11-07
T Miley
Francis Flood Frank Berry
1987 High Plains 8/1 5-11-05
Raymond Mould
David Nicholson GB Richard Dunwoody
1986 Barney Burnett Evs Fav 6-11-09
P Donovan
Ruby Walsh Brendan Sheridan
1985 Hungary Hur 5/1 6-11-06
Mrs A Fegan
Paddy Mullins Tony Mullins
1984 Gav’s Delight 2/5 Fav 6-11-07
N McGrady
Michael Cunningham Ken Morgan
1983 Dawn Run 5/2 Fav 5-11-07
Mrs Charmian Hill
Paddy Mullins Tony Mullins
1982 Bustineto 5/2 4-10-05
Timothy Kinsella
Mick O’Toole Niall Madden
1981 Tie Anchor 2/1 Fav 4-10-09
Daniel Hale
Paddy Prendergast Tommy McGivern
1980 Deep Gale 7/1 7-11-08
J P McManus
Edward O’Grady Mr Frank Codd

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