Midnight Oil and Davy Russell clear the last
©Healy Racing Photos
By Alan Magee
Midnight Oil provided the middle leg of a treble on the day for Willie Mullins, also successful with Blackstairmountain and Terminal, when readily justifying evens favouritism in the McCarthy Insurance Group Maiden Hurdle.
Soundly beaten last time in the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle, Davy Russell’s mount found this company much more to his liking and the champion oozed confidence in the straight.
The Motivator gelding was ridden close to the pace throughout, and kept on well under tender handling to beat Lughnasa (7/2) by three and a quarter lengths.
The pair drew all of 15 lengths clear of Aussie Missile (16/1) in third.
Mullins said, “We decided to ride him more positively today and he enjoyed it better. He should improve more when the ground is drier.
“If he does improve on better ground, which I think he will, he’ll step back up to Graded company. He’s a grand, big jumping type of horse and the ground is key to him.”
Additional reporting by Thomas Weekes