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Donal Murphy

Donal Murphy

Giant rounds off great week for Emmet Mullins

Merlin Giant clears the last under Donagh MeylerMerlin Giant clears the last under Donagh Meyler
© Photo Healy Racing

Merlin Giant rounded off a great week for Emmet Mullins, as he ran out an easy winner of the Grade A baroneracing.com Handicap Hurdle.

Successful on his second start over flights at Galway in July, the Camelot gelding was since a bit disappointing at Ballybrit, finishing fourth to Ballyadam Destiny on what was his handicap debut.

Back in trip and well-fancied this afternoon, he was sent off a 9/2 chance (11/2 early) in the colours of Antoinette Mee.

With Flaming Moon soon in a clear lead, Donagh Meyler was happy to settle the winner towards the head of the chasing pack and he was third at the halfway point.

The five-year-old improved into second from three out and cruised through to lead before the next. While soon pressed, he never really came off the bridle, stretching clear on the run-in, coming home two-and-a-half lengths to the good.

The Noel Meade-trained Pinkerton (5/1) filled the runner-up spot under Bryan Cooper, while Icare Allen who was returned the 7/2 favourite, was another three-lengths away in third.

The well-backed Man O Work (8/1 from 20s early) was a further three-lengths back in fourth.

"He has more of a Flat pedigree and we were slightly concerned about the ground but he coped with it," Mullins, who won with Filey Bay on Thursday and Noble Yeats yesterday, said.

"The trip might have been a bit far for him the last day but it was good to get that run under his belt coming here for a big competitive handicap hurdle.

"You need experience for these races although it didn't turn out like that in the end as Danny strung them out.

"We'll give him a break now and maybe come back for the Festivals in the spring.

"The Galway Hurdle could well be the aim next summer and he'll be well up into that bracket now in the weights."

Additional reporting by Alan Magee