Il Etait Temps floors Gaelic Warrior for Grade One honours

Il Etait Temps claimed another top-level prize when prevailing in the Barberstown Castle Novice Chase at Punchestown.

The six-year-old came into the race on the back of a successful season, within which he has won the Irish Arkle, finished third in the Arkle itself and then claimed the Manifesto Chase at Aintree last time out.

Despite that he was not the favourite to strike again at Grade One level as his stablemate Gaelic Warrior took that status as the first horse home when the two met in the Arkle at Cheltenham in March.

In a small field the four challengers travelled closely before outsider Mount Frisco fell away, leaving three Willie Mullins-trained geldings to fight it out.

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Il Etait Temps 97-2) was the one who came off best, claiming a two-and-a-quarter-length victory under Danny Mullins.

“He’s an extraordinary horse, that’s his third Grade One this year,” said the Closutton trainer.

“He doesn’t look like a big steeplechaser, but he’s got an engine and he jumps well. He’s just maturing and learning all the time.

“He’s getting a lot easier to ride. He has a good and a tongue-tie and that’s to keep the revs low on him. It’s working and we’ll keep them on him for the time being anyway.

“I’d imagine he’ll stay at the two-mile division until we think that he’s too slow, possibly on ground that he likes better.

“He never gives up. He’s settling now and more mature and concentrating his energy at the second half of the race.

Danny Mullins with Il Etait Temps
Danny Mullins with Il Etait Temps (Brian Lawless/PA)

“He’s a horse that I won’t mind going up in trip with and he could easily slot into being a Ryanair horse.”

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Of the runner-up Mullins added: “I think Gaelic Warrior probably didn’t like the ground and it might just be drying up too much for him. He might be more of a winter horse.

“When he won here last year Paul (Townend) thought he didn’t move as well on it even though he won.

“I didn’t think he was as flashy jumping. He’s an extravagant jumper and he wasn’t that at all today.”

The result was a record 35th Grade One of the season for the all-conquering Mullins, who added: “We’ve an incredible team of owners and staff and the horses come if you have both of those.”

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