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Mullins hails 'new champion' Energumene

Energumene and Paul Townend jump the lastEnergumene and Paul Townend jump the last
© Photo Healy Racing

Energumene completed the Cheltenham/Punchestown Champion Chases double today, as the Willie Mullins trained star chaser won the William Hill-sponsored race under jockey Paul Townend.

Energumene was Mullins' first winner of Cheltenham's Champion Chase last month and re-opposed stablemate Chacun Pour Soi which had unseated rider at halfway, and third-placed Envoi Allen in today's five-runner race.

Energumene tracked leader Chacun Pour Soi and while threatened by his stablemate jumping the second-last, soon quickened clear to win by eight and a half lengths. Envoi Allen filled third, Captain Guinness fourth while Andy Dufresne was a first-fence faller.

Following the race Mullins reported “Chacun Pour Soi has had a great career and hopefully he'll win more races but I think we've seen the new champion here today.

“The ground would have suited most of the other horses in the race but I wasn't sure whether it would suit Energumene but he went on it today anyhow. On this ground that was a tremendous performance.

“Patrick (Mullins, jockey on Chacun Pour Soi) was setting it up in front and Energumene loved it and was just jumping up beside Chacun Pour Soi.”

He added “we'll plan next year with both horses and probably go down different paths. I thought Chacun had his chance landing over the second last and I thought 'the race is on here' but Energumene just found so much in the tank.

“On this ground, to me, that was as good if not better than he ever did before. He just seems to be improving with racing and he's learning all the time.

“We learned an awful lot from Ascot, we learned more about how to ride him and have more confidence in him. That's the way Paul has been doing it now and it's worked twice since.

“He's by the same sire (Denham Red) as Un De Sceaux and looked like he might be a similar sort but he has a lot more speed than we gave him credit for. The fact that he was able to come off a pace like that shows the speed, he was still able to gallop away from them and show speed going down to the last fence.

“It tells me that he's improving all the time.”

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.