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Mullins dominates inaugural running of Mares’ Chase

Colreevy outpointed her Willie Mullins-trained stablemate Elimay in a pulsating finish to the inaugural running of the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase at Cheltenham.

The two market leaders had the race to themselves at the business end and there was nothing between them over the final obstacles.

Colreevy (9-4), ridden by Paul Townend, gained the upper hand racing up the hill to hold the 6-5 favourite by half a length. Shattered Love was third, two and three-quarter lengths away.

They went a strong gallop from the start with Magic Of Light and Really Super making the early running, but once the tempo increased the race belonged to the Mullins pair who served up a treat in the Grade Two heat over an extended two and a half miles.

Townend said: “She’s very tough and only a novice, but you wouldn’t think that from the way she jumps.

“She was very keen with me early, so I elected to just let her on and attack her jumps and I thought myself and Mark (Walsh, on Elimay) were in a good duel from a long way out.

“It was nip and tuck and I felt rounding the home turn that I still had a life. My worry was that we’d gone at it and something was going to come late at us.

“The drop of rain we had last night definitely helped. She’s a Grade One winner in Ireland as well, so she’s a very valuable mare and where she goes will be up to Willie and the owners.”

Townend was bouncing back after the disappointment of Al Boum Photo in the Gold Cup, where he had to settle for third in his bid to join an elite club as a three-timer winner of the blue riband.

He added: “He wore his heart on his sleeve again. We missed a couple of fences this year, which wasn’t ideal, but he’s gone down fighting.”