Colreevy ended her racing career in a blaze of glory after upsetting big guns Monkfish and Envoi Allen with a superb front-running victory in the Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown.
A clash between the Willie Mullins-trained Monkfish and Henry de Bromhead’s Envoi Allen was billed as one of the races of the season, with Monkfish protecting an unbeaten record over fences and Envoi Allen bidding to bounce back from his early fall at Cheltenham.
However, Monkfish’s stablemate Colreevy – winner of the inaugural Mares’ Chase in the Cotswolds last month – had other ideas under a well-judged ride from the trainer’s nephew, Danny Mullins.
The 7-1 shot raced enthusiastically and jumped with exuberance on the front end, with eventual runner-up Monkfish sat second under Paul Townend and Envoi Allen third in the hands of Rachael Blackmore.
However, Envoi Allen appeared to be in trouble some way from home before eventually being pulled up approaching the second-last fence, by which time Monkfish was also struggling to peg back the leader.
Colreevy was a little untidy at the final obstacle, but soon regathered her momentum and passed the post eight lengths clear.
The winner, who was recently covered by leading sire Walk In The Park, is now set for a well-earned retirement at the age of eight.
Willie Mullins said: “On ratings she was the best-rated (with the mares’ allowance). Obviously Envoi Allen is not right, and Monkfish probably didn’t run his true race, but she did and probably ran an even better race than she did in Cheltenham.
“It’s a nice send-off for Colreevy. It’s fabulous for the Flynns (owners) and for Danny as well.”
While Townend steered Colreevy to Cheltenham success, Danny Mullins did land a Grade One with her at Limerick earlier in the campaign.
He said: “She’s been a good mare to me this season. I’m delighted to repay the Flynns’ faith in me.
“It was a good performance. She was a little bit sticky early on, but once she warmed into it she proved that she’s a top-class mare.
“When I got away from a third-last and was able to turn to the second-last with a little bit of petrol, I thought I’d be hard to beat – but having said that, Monkfish and Envoi Allen were on my tail, so it was always going to be tough.
“She took a chance at the last, but she’s a lot of power underneath her and kept galloping strongly away from it.”