Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys´ Handicap Hurdle hero Galopin Des Champs (well-backed 13/8 favourite) took the step up to Grade One company in style to win the Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
Albert Bartlett winner Vanillier didn't run up to that level at all on this occasion back in fourth, but there was simply no living with the Greg and Audrey Turley-owned and Willie Mullins trained Galopin Des Champs on this occasion.
Taking over entering the straight, the Timos gelding was ridden to assert before the last. He wasn't great there but kept on strongly on the run-in to slam Gentlemansgame by twelve lengths.
Townend (6 clear of Rachael Blackmore 97 — 91 in the race to be champion jockey) said: “It was straight-forward. He settled lovely but you have to for a three mile race like that.
“I was in front a hell of a lot earlier than I anticipated — I won’t say too soon because he’s won — though definitely a lot sooner than I thought I would be.”
Mullins stated: “He looked very smart today stepping up to three miles. Paul gave him a squeeze going to the third last, he took off and the race was over coming around the last bend.
“Greg and Audrey Turley have touched on a nice horse here. They’ve had two runners at Cheltenham, this horse and Burning Victory who won the Triumph Hurdle last year. Two from two is not a bad record but it’s going to be hard to keep that up.
“Paul said he could be a Stayers Hurdle candidate for next year.
“However, I like to get them going chasing quickly so we’ll have that conversation later in the summer. I wouldn’t mind going chasing with him anyway.”
R.M. Power, rider of Crosshill trained by Mrs John Harrington, reported to the Clerk of Scales that his mount got badly struck into behind.