Mesnil strikes Leopardstown gold for in-form Mullins

Willie Mullins’ domination of the Leopardstown Christmas meeting continued on Monday as Gaillard Du Mesnil initiated a four-timer in the Maiden Hurdle.

Beaten by Henry de Bromhead’s Holymacapony on his Irish debut, the French import looked in a different league on this occasion.

In what appeared a strong contest, the 11-8 favourite was on a tight rein throughout for Paul Townend and bounded almost 10 lengths clear of Mr Incredible.

He was cut to 16-1 from 40s for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle by Betfair.

“I was very impressed with him. The jump he put in at the second last showed how much he had in the tank,” said Mullins.

“He looks like a nice middle-distance horse and we’ll probably stay at that sort of trip with him.

“As he gets more racing I think he’ll settle better, he was a little keen with Paul. He wasn’t stopping at the end and was finishing out the race well.

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“He’s a horse that will go up in grade easily enough, I think.

“I suppose we’ll look at the Dublin Racing Festival. It depends what we do with Appreciate It, as we’ll probably try to keep them apart.”

Mullins and Townend then won the Pertemps Qualifier with 16-1 shot Dandy Mag.

Dandy Mag (9) comes to join The Bosses Oscar at the last
Dandy Mag (9) comes to join The Bosses Oscar at the last (Niall Carson/PA)

Townend had plenty to do turning into the straight with at least 10 still in front of him, but Dandy Mag picked up in fine style to see off The Bosses Oscar to win by a length.

“It was a fantastic ride by Paul, who timed it perfectly,” said Mullins.

“He was off for a long time before his run at Naas. The ease in the ground and trip were a huge help to him today.

“I’m hoping that gives him his ticket now to run in the final. We haven’t had many runners in it and hopefully he goes there with a reasonable chance.”

Owners Joe and Marie Donnelly followed up a Kempton double on Sunday – which was headlined by Shishkin – as they saw their colours carried to victory twice more after Gaillard Du Mesnil.

The giant The Big Getaway clears the last on his way to victory
The giant The Big Getaway clears the last on his way to victory (Niall Carson/PA)

The Big Getaway, who ran so well behind Envoi Allen at Cheltenham in March, put a disappointing chasing debut behind him.

Sent off the 4-5 favourite in the Ballymaloe Foods Beginners Chase, he made every yard of the running for Townend, and his jumping got better the quicker he went.

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“It was nice to get that out of the way and he jumped well,” said Mullins.

“We’ll look for a winners of one, but the way the program is, he’ll probably have to go up in grade now, maybe back here at the Dublin Racing Festival.

“The Flogas Chase could be an option for him.”

Ramillies won the closing bumper hard held
Ramillies won the closing bumper hard held (Niall Carson/PA)

Patrick Mullins then donned the Donnelly silks in the closing Midland Legal Solicitors INH Flat Race on the long-absent Ramillies (15-8 favourite).

An English point-to-point winner, he was a beaten favourite on his debut for the yard at this meeting 12 months ago, but did not need to come out of second gear this time.

“He’s a very nice horse. He did what I was hoping he’d do last year,” said Mullins.

“He looks top drawer and I’d imagine we’ll look to come back here for the Festival. The Grade Two bumper there would have to be the target.”

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