Review Punchestown 12th Jan

Sat 12th Jan 2013, 18:00

Diakali and Paul Townend
©Healy Racing Photos

Willie Mullins' exciting French recruit Diakali made short work of the opposition to land a bloodless victory in the feature race at Punchestown.

With stablemate Dogora an absentee the four-year-old, an easy winner at Gowran on his jumps debut in November, was sent off the 1-2 favourite for the Visit For All Our Offers Juvenile Hurdle and went straight to the front under a confident Paul Townend.

He had Leopardstown winner Flaxen Flare, who did not jump fluently, in trouble from some way out and opened up between the final two flights to stretch well clear before coasting in with 28 lengths to spare.

Mullins completed a double when Leggy Lad's last-flight fall left Rockyaboya (4-1) clear in the Follow Us On Facebook & Twitter Handicap Hurdle, but Patrick Mullins had to work hard to fend off Paco Jack by a nose.

Robert Tyner's bumper winner Way Up In The Air (3-1) got no further than the first flight on her jumps debut at Cork, but there were no such alarms in the INH Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle.

She had only perennial bridesmaid Champagne Agent for company on the turn into the straight and pulled clear before being kept up to her work by Davy Russell to win by four and three-quarter lengths.

Owners Gigginstown House Stud had the finish to themselves in the Free Festival Ticket Upgrade Now On Hurdle and it was the Dessie Hughes-trained Si C'Etait Vrai (13-8) who proved strongest, leading all the way for Bryan Cooper and holding favourite Shrapnel by two and a quarter lengths.

Paul Nolan's lightly raced point-to-point winner Panther Claw (11-4 favourite) took the Amateur National For The Conyngham Cup Handicap Chase by two lengths under Mikey Fogarty but only after Current Resession fell two out when still holding every chance.

Robbie Power sent Madam Bovary (4-1) up to join the leaders four out in the Festival Hospitality From 99 Euros Beginners Chase and Jessie Harrington's mare gradually asserted to win by four and three-quarter lengths.

Will there be another Irish winner at Aintree?

A lot has been said recently about the fact that the Irish contingent at Cheltenham tend to stoke up the fires of Anglo-Irish needle with their flag waving and chest beating due to our incredible success in recent years. As pointed out previously, this is nothing more than a bit of harmless fun that some folk on both sides of the Irish Sea take a little too seriously.