Five O'clock and Danny Mullins clear the last© Photo Healy Racing
Five O'clock continued his progression to run out a convincing winner of the Michael Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle at Thurles this afternoon. French Dynamite took them along in the two-and-a-half mile Grade 3 event but was strongly pressed turning for home.
There were four in a line coming to the second last but it was Five O'clock who edged ahead going to the final flight under Danny Mullins.
Willie Mullins' charge powered clear on the run-in to score by six lengths and give the trainer and owner, Rich Ricci, a double on the day following the earlier win of Salsaretta Front View just got the better of stable-mate Assemble by a neck for the runner-up spot with further back to the long time leader French Dynamite.
Five O'clock was stepping up in trip again today having made heavy weather of opening his hurdling account over two miles at Limerick last month.
He had been beaten at a very short price on his Irish debut at Tramore back in December.
The champion trainer said afterwards:- "I was surprised Paul (Townend) didn't ride him.
“I think Paul was disappointed he didn't win better the last day but to me it was over the wrong trip and on a tight track and didn't get to show himself off. For once it wasn't my decision!
"He is a horse I think a lot of. He wasn't impressive the last day because it was over the wrong trip and it was on the inside track at Limerick. Really he wants a galloping track and trip and we'll look for that type of race or 2m5f plus.
"He is an out and out three mile chaser down the line and we'll see how he comes out of it but we might be looking at races nearer home than Cheltenham."
(Quotes by Tom Weekes)