Bachasson keeps up Willie Mullins’ winning streak
Favourite came home to win Punchestown Hurdle in the hands of Paul Townend
Bachasson ridden by Paul Townend won the Punchestown Hurdle. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Bachasson rounded off a fantastic end to 2020 for Willie Mullins when completing a New Year’s Eve double for the champion trainer at Punchestown.
The Closutton handler racked up a staggering tally of 16 winners in the space of four days at Leopardstown and Limerick — with Sharjah, Monkfish and Chacun Pour Soi among his six Grade One heroes.
The feature event on the final day of the year was the tote.ie Punchestown Hurdle, a race Mullins had won in each of the three previous years, including with Bachasson in 2018.
The grey was the 30-100 favourite to repeat the feat in the hands of champion jockey Paul Townend, having made a successful start to his campaign in the Clonmel Oil Chase in mid-November.
Those who took the prohibitive odds can have had few concerns, with Bachasson leading from flag-fall and cruising to a six-and-a-half-length verdict over stablemate Scarpeta.
Mullins said: “I was hoping he’d jump a bit better, but Paul said he was just idle out in front on his own.
“We’ll mix it between hurdles and fences for the rest of the season, and we’ll probably keep him down the country over fences.
“He’s not a big horse, but it’s the size of the heart that counts and not the size of the horse.”
Mullins had earlier saddled 10-1 shot Stones And Roses to win the tote.ie Home Of The Placepot Handicap Chase, with Brian Hayes the winning rider this time.
“He’s improving and is a real old-fashioned staying chaser. Extended trips are what he likes, and he jumps for fun,” said Mullins.
“He’ll probably come back here for the Grand National Trial.
“I’m delighted to give Brian a winner. He’s an integral part of our yard for schooling and riding work.”