Fresh from teaming up with Kemboy in Friday’s Savills Chase, Willie and David Mullins were on the mark again as Good Thyne Tara led home a one-two-three for the yard in the Advent Insurance Irish EBF Mares Hurdle at Leopardstown.
Mullins was expected to win the Grade Three with Limini, who was the odds-on favourite, but she drifted in the betting just before the off and trailed her two stablemates, with Elimay giving the winner most to do.
Sent off at 9-2, Good Thyne Tara was allowed to do as she pleased in front, poaching a five-length lead at half way and while Elimay pestered her all the way up the straight on her Irish debut, Good Thyne Tara held on by half a length.
“She’s very tough. We’re probably lucky to still have her in training. We didn’t get the rain this winter and if we had, I would have just sent her back,” said Willie Mullins.
“The ground is good and she loves it. David said she went down on the sand track, where it was heavy, and she hated it. He said the minute she stepped out on the grass she was a different mare.
“He wanted to make the running on her, and I said ‘OK go ahead and do that’. It worked out for him again.
“It was a big surprise to me, because I didn’t think she was up to that standard, but the more she does, the more she improves.
“She’s probably just a little better than a lot of them on this ground. We’ll see what happens when the ground gets heavy.”
Mullins had mixed feelings about the performances of the runner-up and third.
“I was delighted with Elimay,” he said.
“It was her first run for us. Charlie Swan bought her in France for JP McManus.
“She’s not a big mare but she’s obviously got a big engine, I think. For her first run over hurdles here, it was good.
“With Limini, I’m just wondering if the runs she had on the Flat on very firm ground might be telling now on this unseasonably dry ground here.
“She might just improve back to her old form if the weather breaks. Ruby felt she wasn’t letting herself down on it. She wants more of a cut in the ground.”
Mullins had earlier teamed up with Ruby Walsh to win the Pigsback.com Maiden Hurdle on Castlebawn West (7-2) after a terrific tussle with The Big Dog.
Alan Fleming and Barry Connell were given a boost through the victory of Speaker Connolly (12-1) in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Chase.
Smart novice chaser Borderline Chatho suffered a fatal fall when in the process of putting up a good display on Friday, but in providing jockey Liam Gilligan with his first winner, the pair were able to smile once more.
“He’s probably a horse that will get a bit further, and I’d say he’ll improve again from that today – so hopefully he will. He’ll need to, because the handicapper’s going to give him a right whopping,” said Fleming.
“Where we go next, I don’t know, but I hope there’ll be another nice handicap in him anyway.
“If he can improve at all, we’ll have an all right horse on our hands.
“It was tough yesterday to lose him. He was a nice horse and it’ll be hard to fill his box. Unfortunately these things happen.”
There was a turn up in the closing bumper when 33-1 chance Benruben scored for John Nicholson and Finny Maguire beating some highly-touted rivals.
“I think he’s very good. He has pleased us in all his work,” said Nicholson.
“He came to me about three months ago and everything he did was perfect, all the way. I thought he was a very good horse.
“We’re going to go straight novice chasing with him. He won’t go hurdling.
“The owners wanted to run him in a schooling race. I said ‘I don’t like schooling races, why not run him in a bumper and see what we have’.
“I told Finny ‘bide your time and I think he’ll run well’ so I was happy.”