Intranet made a winning debut for JP McManus and Willie Mullins when they battled to beat Belle The Lioness at Punchestown.
Off the 11-8 favorite in the second division of the William Hill Play Responsibly Maiden Hurdle, Mark Walsh’s mount was led between the last two flights by Henry de Bromhead’s Belle The Lioness but ended up pulling away to win by a comfortable two and a half lengths.
He was given odds of 33-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle by Paddy Power.
“He was very professional and Mark said he jumped great. He said he needed a good jump at the end and that was a big help,” said Frank Berry, the owner’s racing manager.
“You would be very pleased with him. We’ll see what Willie wants to do with it down the road.
Will The Big Doyen keep the loot at @punchestownrace?
He won by a short head from Nucky Johnson and Angus McNae reckons the stewards have a tough job on their hands. @WilliamHill pic.twitter.com/1rvj9fh4sP
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) November 29, 2022
“He’ll learn a bit from today as well, as it was his first race for a long time. He takes care of that field and we couldn’t be happier with him.”
It was the first leg of a double for Mullins, who took the William Hill Epic Value Hurdle 5-4 favourite. Fee for max.
His task was made easier by Gordon Elliott’s Hiaou taking an early hold and then almost running away before surprisingly fading in the straight.
Paul Townend was aboard the winner and said: “It was a good find. His best form is actually here.
“The tongue tie probably helped and it’s not winter terrain or anything, it’s not big.
“It was worth it because he runs well, but it was probably frustrating.
“He’s relaxed a lot compared to how he was. I remember the first day I rode him in Fairyhouse, it was an experience for both of us. He settled down a bit and even ran in a bit of rubber today with nothing on it. From trying to arrange it, maybe it settled too much.”
There was a revised result in the first division of the Intranet race.
of Peter Fahey The Grand Doyen he crossed the line by a short head in front of Nucky Johnson, but the positions were reviewed when the stewards adjudged The Big Doyen guilty of interference close to home.
Noel Meade and Bryan Cooper were the beneficiaries.
De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore were on the move in the opening William Hill Ireland Rated Novice Chase with Marvel By Cerisya fall behind Impervious last time.
“We’re excited about it. We wanted to see if he would suit a step up in the journey, which he obviously did,” De Bromhead said.
“It was good, obviously the race fell apart a bit, but we were still happy to see him go out and win. I’m excited for Caolan (Woods, owner).
“It’s nice to see him back to form. We will look at our options now and see what comes next.”
Paul Nolan has a nice prospect on his hands Sandor Clegane (15-8) who dominated the Connolly’s Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle to win by 12 lengths.
“Sean (O’Keeffe) said he felt like a fit horse and said three he just came alive,” Nolan said.
“He said ‘it’s going to take a good one to beat me’ and when he heard a horse coming up behind him he sped off.
“During a trip he can do that and he needs that trip. It doesn’t happen very often, except in Limerick, but we actually think he’ll do on hard ground as well and that would push others out of their comfort zone.
“It’s nice to be back with some of the good guys. We’ll aim for Albert Bartlett, we might as well aim high.”