Mullins steals the show at Fairyhouse
Racing:Blazing Tempo was the star of a stunning 16.5-1 four-timer for trainer Willie Mullins at Fairyhouse. Vesper Bell, Ceol Rua and Champagne Fever were also on target for the Co Carlow handler, but it was progressive mare Blazing Tempo who stole the show.
The eight-year-old continued her rise up the ladder with a surprise win over Noble Prince in the feature Normans Grove Chase. Winner of the Galway Plate during the summer, she showed she is still on the upgrade when having too many guns for the 9-10 favourite on the dash to the line.
Ruby Walsh bided his time, placing her at the rear of the field as Saludos made the running until asking Blazing Tempo (9-4) to take closer order just before the turn for home.
Tranquil Sea threatened to take a hand in the finish but he was swept aside and it was left to the two protagonists to fight out the finish, with Blazing Tempo prevailing by three-quarters of a length.
“She is holding her form and that was nice to win, given the ground,” said Mullins. “We had the choice of coming here or going to the Boylesports Hurdle but rather than take on a handicap with 20 runners, we decided to take our chance today even though the ground might not be as suitable.
“I was very pleased with that but (I’m) not sure where we’ll go as she’s done more than enough. She’s an iron mare and has been on the go since Galway and been doing it in all sorts of ground. She’ll get an entry for the Ryanair Chase but I’m not sure if she’s good enough.”
Walsh enjoyed a hat-trick thanks to wins on Vesper Bell and Ceol Rua. Vesper Bell (8-11) strode away in style to take the 45euro Bobbyjo Restaurant Package Maiden Hurdle by nine lengths from Griesnau, who pipped the winner’s stablemate Lord Gale for second.
Mullins said: “He did it the hard way but did it well. We’ll step him up in trip and find something over two-mile-six or three miles if we can. His owners probably want to go for the Albert Bartlett Hurdle at Cheltenham.”
Ceol Rua (6-4 favourite) gained a hard-fought half-length verdict over Shadow Eile in the Easter 8th — 10th April Mares Novice Hurdle.
“Ceol Rua’s jumping has improved and it made all the difference. She is learning with experience and I imagine the mares’ hurdle at Punchestown should be the aim,” said Mullins.
“She’ll probably go for a novice hurdle in between and her pedigree suggests she wants better ground — she had a good run at Aintree on good ground.”
Rich Ricci, owner of Vesper Bell and Blazing Tempo had his colours carried to a treble when Champagne Fever, ridden by the trainer’s son Patrick Mullins, won the Nina Carberry — Meath Sportsperson of the Year 2011 INH Flat Race.
Shot From The Hip produced a tidy of foot to overcome Ninetieth Minute for his first win over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase. Edward O’Grady’s charge did not jump the last as well as Ninetieth Minute but kept straighter than his rival on the run-in.
The 4-5 chance, ridden by Mark Walsh, got up in the final 100 yards to win by half a length. O’Grady said: “He had it all to do today — the first two horses are both good horses. I wanted to get his jumping right today and get that win out of the way.
“That’s mission accomplished now and we’ll probably go for a winners’ race somewhere now.”
Caolaneoin (11-8 favourite) looks a nice prospect for Seamus Foley after opening his account in the Fairyhouse Schooling Races Maiden Hurdle while Dessie Hughes’s Caheronaun (8-1) took the Costa Coffee Dock Handicap Hurdle.