It's Only A Willie Mullins 1-2 As Invitation Impresses

Sat 13th Jan 2018, 13:27

Invitation Only and David Mullins leads from Mossback and Sean Flanagan If ever a horse has learned from a fall it's Invitation Only, and he made it back-to-back wins over fences today at Punchestown in the Grade 3 Total Event Rental (Kildare) Novice Chase.

A point-to-point winner at the start of his career for Sean Doyle, the Flemensfirth gelding came a cropper at the fifth on his debut over racecourse fences, also at the home of Irish National Hunt racing, on November 18th.

Following on from a Navan success, here David Mullins got some lovely leaps from Invitation Only on the front end, whilst market-rival The Storyteller was struggling after a bad mistake two out.

Another Willie Mullins runner, Koshari, and The Storyteller tried to get to Invitation Only from before the last.

David Mullins only had to wake the 5/4 favourite up on the run-in though, to contain that pair by two and a half lengths and two lengths.

Paddy Power are now 6/1 from 10/1 about Invitation Only for the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.

"He's got buckets of scope and he's a real galloping jumper," said the winning rider.

"I was very impressed with him. He quickened up off the bend and did everything right.

"I was just keeping him alive down to the last and make sure he didn't stall on. You seen with the horse in the last race when you back off the last it can catch them out in this ground.

"I knew they were hot on my tail. I thought there was plenty left at the line and he's one to look forward to.

"We went a good gallop and he has a lot of ability jumping wise, he has buckets of scope but he's well able to pop and is good and clever.

"I couldn't believe at the third last where he came from. He was as far out at the other side and he's got it all really.

"He had to go in a pop one or two, was a bit low at one or two, and got better as he went on."

(GC & EM)

Bilbo delights Murray and Kennedy

Bilbo Bagins defied top-weight in the opening Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Chase at Punchestown, but not before giving his connections and backers a late scare.

THE IRISH TIMES