N'golo and Paul Townend jump the last
© Photo Healy Racing
Willie Mullins cemented his position as Galway's Leading Trainer with victory in the opening James's Gate Maiden Hurdle today with N'golo, at the expense of chasing trainer Joseph O'Brien's 4/5 favourite Risk Factor.
Mullins led O'Brien by six winners to four at the start of today's final national hunt fixture and while O'Brien's Risk Factor gave him some chance of keeping tabs on Mullins, the 'jolly' was held by N'golo when unshipping J.J. Slevin at the final flight.
N'golo's own passage through the race was less than straightforward and having led early-on, attempted to run out at the hurdle in front of the stands.
He did subsequently benefit from having a lead from Risk Factor and in the dip went clear of that rival before scoring an eight and a half lengths winner from Make Good.
Following the race David Casey, representing Mullins, stated “it was his first run coming from France and was generally good but had a look at something (at the last with a circuit to race).
“He had been working well at home, he is a big strong horse and should improve from that.
“He is grand at home, pops and jumps and he'd go on slower ground.”
Trainer Mullins sank the good ship D.K. Weld with a first Galway Leading Trainer's title in 2016 and is now on course for a fifth consecutive title.