Yorkhill claimed his first victory since the 2017 Cheltenham Festival with a facile success in the Watch Racing TV Now Chase at Galway.
The Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old was considered a superstar in the making after winning the JLT Novices’ Chase at Prestbury Park, but he has largely flattered to deceive during the subsequent two and a half years.
Turning out just four days after unseating Paul Townend in the Galway Plate, the enigmatic gelding appeared to have everything in his favour in in this two-mile-six-furlong conditions event and was priced up accordingly as the 6-4 favourite.
Yorkhill did jump out to his left on occasions – as he has throughout his chasing career – but was still full of running when he loomed up to challenge the pacesetting Valseur Lido racing down the hill.
After safely negotiating the final two fences, he cruised into the home straight and had enough in hand to see off his rallying stablemate Some Neck by three lengths.
Mullins, saddling his 10th winner of the week, said: “He could go for the Kerry National at Listowel, and going left-handed would suit him better. That rain probably helped him as well.
“I’m very happy with the way the week has gone. It went way better than expected as I didn’t think we had as many chances this year as we had last year.
“”here has been a good mix of jockeys winning for us with Paul (Townend), Patrick and David (Mullins), Jody (Townend) and Kevin Manning.
“It was great to win a few of the feature races, and it was nice that a lot of owners did well also.”
All The Answers completed a double for jockey Darragh O’Keeffe and owner JP McManus with a dominant victory in the Lord Hemphill Memorial Handicap Chase.
Joseph O’Brien’s charge was the 11-4 favourite for the 40,000 euro contest and after tracking fellow McManus-owned runner Rock The World into the home straight, the eight-year-old kicked clear for a six-length success.
Lucky Pat came through to beat Rock The World to the runner-up spot.
Frank Berry, the owner’s racing manager, said: “He did it grand, jumped well and seemed to like the drop of rain that came. He ran well at Killarney (finished third) and has come on from that.
“It’s nice to get a good prize out of him, and hopefully we can find something similar, maybe in Listowel.”
O’Keeffe had earlier struck gold on the Gavin Cromwell-trained Ilikedwayurthinkin, who claimed his second victory of the week in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle.
The Yeats gelding was a 5-6 favourite to follow up his emphatic victory at the track on Wednesday and ultimately did so in impressive style, coming home five lengths clear.
Cromwell said: “I was a bit concerned coming back to two miles as the two-five the other day was more suited to him. He travelled great there today and he was good.
“We’ll probably give a break now and I’m not sure where he will go. He’s a novice for this season, and whether that will be novice races or novice handicaps, we’ll see.
“He’ll jump a fence at some stage down the line.”
Mr Smith was a dominant winner of the Kenny Galway Handicap Hurdle.
Successful on the Flat at Carlisle last month, the Charles Byrnes-trained eight-year-old had not run over obstacles since August 2016.
That proved to be no barrier to victory, however, as he eased to a 10-length verdict over Goodnightngodbless under Adam Short.
“He’d a light weight and with the ground getting softer it told more – he just out-galloped them really,” said Byrnes.
“The form of his Carlisle race had worked out terribly well (second and third both won since) and he’ll mix and match between jumping and the Flat.”