Clean sweep for Willie Mullins in the Navan mud

Ruby Walsh makes it a hat-trick with well-backed favourite Gallant Oscar

The Mullins pair of Zaidpour (above) and Twinlight scored a lucrative Grade Two double at Navan. Photograph: Inpho

The Mullins pair of Zaidpour (above) and Twinlight scored a lucrative Grade Two double at Navan. Photograph: Inpho

 

Any suspicion of fitness vulnerability there might have been about some of Willie Mullins’s all-powerful string looked to be blown out of the Navan mud with a clean sweep of yesterday’s three graded races by the champion trainer.

Unseasonably quick ground conditions in recent weeks had had Mullins pondering the race-sharpness of some of his horses, but such fears were dismissed with a vengeance yesterday with four winners from eight runners between the Navan and Limerick fixtures.

Hat-trick

It was a hugely successful weekend that saw Mullins reach 62 winners for the season already, as well as close on €750,000 in prizemoney, which will have his rivals feeling uneasy.

“A few of mine have looked to need a run but then they come here today and run well fresh. It’s so hard to know until you run them. But at least now the ground is coming right so we can find out,” said Mullins who won his first Ladbrokes Lismullen Hurdle as a trainer with Zaidpour.

Made all

“The conditions of the race suited him. We’ll take the first opportunity to go over three miles on soft ground with him but the Hatton’s Grace looks an obvious next race,” said Mullins, who added: “This horse does go best fresh.”

More impressive

“I thought the ground might still be a bit dry for him, but Ruby gave him a super ride, kept filling him up,” Mullins said.

“That looks his optimum trip and the Hilly Way at Cork looks a race for him. He’ll run over two miles wherever we can.”

McKinley had been kept busy over the summer but the Gigginstown runner looked to step up again in the Grade Three For Auction Novice Hurdle.

“He’s improving all the time and seemed to be galloping away at the end of that two miles,” Mullins said.

“I think he’d rather nice ground, but we’ll let him tell us about that.”

The Mullins hope, Blood Cotil, didn’t help his cause in the Beginners’ Chase with mediocre leaps at the final two fences, but Enda Bolger’s Gilgamboa still won impressively and was immediately cut to 10-1 for Cheltenham’s JLT Chase by some firms.

“You couldn’t ask for much better than that,” said JP McManus’s racing manager, Frank Berry, who also welcomed back the favourite, Harvey Logan, after his win in the two mile handicap hurdle.

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