Salsaretta continues progression over fences

Punchestown success for highly-regarded mare.

  • Tuesday 31 December
  • News
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Salsaretta made it two from two over fences with an assured victory in the Tote Proud Sponsors Of Punchestown Mares Chase at Punchestown.

The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old had a tall reputation after arriving from France a couple of years ago.

However, although she managed to win a couple of minor events at Sligo and Limerick, her hurdling career was a little underwhelming as she failed to make her presence felt in a string of Grade One events.

She caused a minor surprise when making an impressive chasing debut at Punchestown in late November and was the 8-11 favourite to follow up on her return, getting the job done well under champion jockey Paul Townend.

Mullins said: “She’s a very slick jumper and did it nicely. I think she would prefer softer ground.

“It’s a nice jump up in class for her and we’ll try and go back to novice races if we can.”

Smoking Gun (7-2) saw off his better-fancied stablemate Early Doors in the Tote Supporting Irish Racing Since 1930 Beginners Chase.

The latter – winner of the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle at last season’s Cheltenham Festival – was the 9-4 favourite after finishing second on his fencing bow, but could never get on terms with the JJ Slevin-ridden Smoking Gun.

Brendan Powell, assistant to trainer Joseph O’Brien, said: “He jumped well and stayed well. It’s nice to get his head in front and JJ said the one thing he does do is stay.

“The second horse has run well. He got hampered at the second-last, which didn’t help, but whether he’d have got to the winner, I don’t know.”

Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell combined to land the Play The Tote Trifecta 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle with 9-2 chance Gealach.

“He has plenty of experience. It might not have been the strongest race in the world, but it’s another winner,” said the trainer.

“I’m not sure where we will go now. He stays well and could be one for the Fred Winter (at the Cheltenham Festival).”

Salsaretta continues progression over fences
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