El Barra (Sean O'Keeffe) heads for home from Get My Drift (Mark Walsh)© Photo Healy Racing
A sixteenth of the week and a treble on the day was rounded off for Willie Mullins as Sean O’Keeffe doubled up aboard El Barra in the SalesSense International Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
O’Keeffe was earlier a winner for Jessica Harrington on Rapid Response Willie Mullins was on the mark with Gaillard Du Mesnil (Paul Townend) and Asterion Forlonge (Bryan Cooper).
With a couple of hurdles out here due to the low sun, only seven were jumped, and El Barra (12/1) disputed the lead early, and he led from the second and made the rest.
Ridden clear before the last, El Barra had a reduced advantage inside the final furlong, keeping on close home to hold off Get My Drift by a head.
“He’s done it nicely, jumped a bit left. I think he’s going to be a better horse over fences and he’ll go chasing next season,” said Mullins.
“Sean is a good pilot and he was good on Galopin Des Champs for us at Cheltenham.”
Owing to the low lying elevation of the sun, the Stewards granted permission for hurdles # 2 & 3 to be omitted from this race
(AM & EM)