Pandorama pounces on Vinny's fall


LEOPARDSTOWN:Luck was not on the side of Cousin Vinny as he unseated Patrick Mullins when looking certain to land the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Last year’s Champion Bumper winner had made a smooth transition to jumping in the main and was cruising alongside Pandorama approaching the final flight of the Grade One race with Mullins appearing full of confidence.

The 4-6 favourite even looked to have winged the obstacle but he stumbled when his feet hit the ground, decanting his young rider and allowing Pandorama (6-4) and Paul Carberry to come home 10 lengths clear at their leisure.

Cousin Vinny remains at the head of the betting for both the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Ballymore Properties over the longer trip at Cheltenham but he is not likely to have the chance for revenge on Pandorama.

Mullins’ father and Cousin Vinny’s trainer Willie, said: “The horse half knuckled and slipped on landing. Patrick set him alight going to the last to get some experience of jumping fast before going to Cheltenham.

“He’d never jumped a hurdle that fast in his life.”

Pandorama’s handler Noel Meade added: “I feel very sorry for Willie but you need a bit of luck, and we are all out there to win.

“Next year is the one for Pandorama. He is going to go chasing and I don’t want to sicken him with too many hard races this season. He won’t run in Cheltenham if it is quick ground.

“He wasn’t right when he was beaten by Mikael D’Haguenet at Navan, he was lame behind for a full week.

“The original plan was the Ballymore but I’m thinking more in terms of the three-miler now (the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle), that might be race for him.”

Compensation came very quickly to Mullins as his Cooldine (9-4 joint-favourite) carried the famous red and white silks of Violet O’Leary to success in the Dr. P.J Moriarty Novice Chase.

Eleven years ago the great Florida Pearl won for O’Leary and Mullins before following up in the RSA Chase, which Cooldine will now aim for.

He was taking on many of the best Irish novices here, making most of the running under Ruby Walsh and although Forpadydeplasterer passed him at the last, Cooldine dug deep on the run-in to pull two and a half lengths away.

Mullins said: “The experience he gained in the Durkan Chase last time was a big help. He got frightened by the bad mistake of Chiraaz at the first fence today and it took him a little while to get into a rhythm.

“He stayed every inch of the trip and the RSA Chase looks the obvious race. It’s been a lucky race for me.

“I would have preferred a longer gap between now and the Festival but as he was idling in front, maybe he won with a bit left in the tank.”

Cashmans and Paddy Power make Cooldine 6-1 joint-favourite with What A Friend for Cheltenham.

Patrick Mullins got a personal confidence booster and another for his dad in the Frank Ward & Co. Solicitors Flat Race.

Rumour suggested Sicilian Secret (4-11 favourite) was the horse fancied to give the stable yet another Weatherbys Champion Bumper in March and he did little to put his supporters off as he readily held Edward O’Grady’s Rare Commodity.

Mullins said: “Patrick said the horse was very green when he hit the front but he did what was asked and showed a fair bit of toe. The second looks like a good horse so this was a nice performance. I’ve never had a team like this.”

An exciting finish to the Grade Two Spring Juvenile Hurdle saw O’Grady’s Jumbo Rio (11-4) get the better of the gritty Ebadiyan.

The 13-8 favourite Ebadiyan was initially in front but appeared outpaced at the second-last, where Jumbo Rio lost momentum himself with a bad mistake.

Both got themselves back in the picture but Jumbo Rio was three-quarters of a length too strong.

Winning owner Patrick Wilmott said: “It’s obviously the best race he has run this year and he has done it the hard way.

“He made a bad error at the second-last and he has done well to come back from that.

“I’d say he would have too much weight in the Fred Winter, so the Triumph Hurdle looks the obvious option.”

Walsh, who took the big race on Neptune Collonges, also helped Paul Nolan’s Savitha (4-1) to run out a comfortable winner of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF (Mares) Handicap Hurdle with Nolan later doubling up through See U Bob (12-1) in the Handicap Hurdle.

Agus A Vic (11-4) regained the Raymond Smith Memorial Hunters Chase but trainer Patrick Martin warned: “Things didn’t go right for him at Cheltenham last year so I would say we will probably give it a miss and go to Aintree and Punchestown.”