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Allaho leads home Mullins 1-2-3 in John Durkan Chase

Allaho. white cap, takes the honoursAllaho. white cap, takes the honours
© Photo Healy Racing

Allaho ground it out off the front on seasonal reappearance in the Grade 1 John Durkan at Punchestown.

Last season's Ryanair hero set out to make every yard in this extended two and a half mile test which featured Envoi Allen Fakir D'oudairies and Grand National hero Minella Times Fences five, six and seven were omitted die to the low-lying sun.

Willie Mullins had won six of the previous eight renewals and saddled seven of the 10 runners including Allaho.

He jumped left four out and was pressed by stablemate Asterion Forlonge He then went slightly left at the next where Asterion Forlonge crashed out.

That left Allaho clear, however, another stablemate Janidil set off in pursuit approaching the home bend. Envoi Allen could make no impression in third at that stage.

Janidil cut into the gap two out but both he and the leader were less than fluent. Allaho steadied into the last and was ridden by Patrick Mullins to see off Janidil by two lengths at 7/2.

The runner-up ran a notable race at 22/1. He was three and a quarter lengths in front of another Mullins representative, Melon (50/1).

Mullins said: “I was delighted how he fought back. When Asterion Forlonge came up alongside him I thought that will take the stuffing out of him. Each challenger that came he kept pulling it out.

“He raced very lazily today which is not like him and he was going a bit to his left which is not like him so we will have to look at all that for the future.

“Our horses are not fully wound up yet and I was hoping his ability would pull him through. Taking on horses with a run under their belt can be very tough. I was very happy with the way they all performed and hoping they will all improve from that."

The Stewards interviewed Mr P.W. Mullins, rider of Allaho (FR), concerning his use of the whip in the latter stages of this race. Evidence was heard from the rider concerned who accepted he had used his whip excessively and but felt that three of the strikes were for corrective purposes. Having viewed a recording of the race and considered the evidence the Stewards were satisfied that Mr. P.W. Mullins was in breach of R10.3(g)(frequency) and considering his record in this regard, they suspended him for three racedays.

Paddy Power cut Allaho to 5/2f from 7/2f for the Ryanair Chase. They also halved Asterion Forlonge from 16/1 to 8/1 for the King George.

Additional reporting by Alan Magee

About Michael Graham
Michael has worked in horse racing journalism for more than 15 years, having also written a weekly betting column on Gaelic football and hurling for a newspaper. He is involved in writing the My Racing Story features on this website. He spent a year in South Africa completing a Diploma in Business Administration and also studied Newspaper Journalism in Belfast. He enjoys playing 5-a-side football on a regular basis.