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Echoes In Rain books Cheltenham ticket

Echoes In Rain and Paul TownendEchoes In Rain and Paul Townend
© Photo Healy Racing

Trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Paul Townend lost Naas' opening Grade 3 chase in the stewards' room today but bagged the other such-rated Naas Business Club Limestone Lad Hurdle, with Cheltenham-bound Echoes In Rain (5/6f).

The hurdle race's six runners included dual Cheltenham winner Bob Olinger but none could land a blow against Echoes In Rain, which won unextended by 10 lengths from stablemate Cash Back

Bob Olinger, dropping in distance following some disappointing runs, lacked fluency in his jumping and finished one-paced in a never dangerous third.

Mullins, whose Ramillies was demoted in today's opener, said “Echoes In Rain did it nicely, probably better than I expected. We thought we probably had the fastest horse in the race so Paul wasn't in any rush to get to the front. He was happy enough to let someone else make it.

“She was keen enough and probably the few runs on the Flat lit her up a bit. That's the problem you have when you mix it but with a faster run race she'll be alright.”

He added “when you go up a grade, to Grade 1, I'm not sure she's sharp enough at two miles. The mares hurdle is 2m4f and maybe that's where she'll go. That would be the first port of call I'd think.”

Regarding runner-up Cash Back, he said “he ran a great race. We said we'd let him make the running today and he enjoyed that. He surprised us - I was hoping to get some prize-money but to finish second was a great run and he's coming back to himself.

“The last day we held him up and it didn't work. It worked today but then he was let make the pace as well. It was a nice run for an 11-year-old. We'll try and find another race like that for him, maybe over an extra two furlongs.”

Echoes In Rain was later cut to 7/1 generally for the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Quotes from Gary Carson

About Tom Weekes
A lifelong racing fan, Tom began writing point to point reports in 2002 and has reported for irishracing.com since 2003, when he joined Irish Racing Services - since taken over by the Press Association. Has ridden a point to point winner and won the 2018 Irish Field Naps Table.