Willie Mullins’ Sir Gerhard seemed to relish a return to smaller obstacles when taking the feature Tote Guarantee Available On Course & Tote.ie Hurdle at Punchestown.
The Cheveley Park-owned bay was top class over the smaller obstacles earlier in his career, taking the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2022, having won the Champion Bumper at Prestbury Park 12 months previously.
Though he won on his chasing debut last January and finished a close second in the Grade One Gold Cup at Fairyhouse in April, his jumping did not always fill onlookers with confidence.
He was again tried over fences on his first run of this season but fell in the Barberstown Castle Chase at Naas and was reverted to hurdling this time around.
Under Paul Townend, he was the 10-11 favourite and looked to get his mojo back by winning by two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Thedevilscoachman.
“That was a nice performance and he’s got his confidence back over hurdles anyway,” said Mullins.
“We’ll probably stick to hurdles now this season and he may go down the Stayers’ Hurdle route.
“He jumped well at Naas until he fell and it took him a while to recover from that fall.
“I thought looking at him going down to the start that he looked big and I’d be hoping there is more improvement.”
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