Minella Indo confirmed his Cheltenham superiority over Allaho as he landed the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
First and third in the Albert Bartlett in March, Allaho attempted to make all under Ruby Walsh in a change of tactics from Cheltenham and jumping the second last, it appeared he was going better than Minella Indo.
However, turning into the straight Rachael Blackmore pulled Henry de Bromhead’s charge out for a challenge and he quickened up smartly, shooting clear of Allaho to prove his Cheltenham win was no fluke at odds of 5-1.
Carefully Selected came from out of the pack to close into third, but Minella Indo ran out a two-length winner.
“I thought turning in Ruby had us all gone, but he just stays so well,” said De Bromhead.
“Rachael said as soon as she pulled him out, he took off and he pricked his ears coming to the last.
“It’s lovely to come here and win this on top of the Albert Bartlett. I’m a bit lost for words to be honest – just delighted.
“Chasing is the plan next season. That’s what he was bought to do, he won a point-to-point, and that will be the plan.”
When asked if the RSA Chase would be the target next year, the trainer added: “We’ll see, he’s hopefully that calibre but obviously he has to take to fences.
“If he does, that’s the kind of stuff we’ll be aiming for.
“It’s fantastic to win a Grade One here. I’m delighted for the lads and delighted for Rachael, she’s just riding out of her skin.”
Colreevy lifted the Racing Post App Champion INH. Flat Race For The Conyngham Cup to win at the Festival for the second consecutive year.
Not seen since winning at Fairyhouse last April, Willie Mullins’ mare was kept up to her work by Jamie Codd to win by a length at odds of 4-1.
“Niall (Flynn, owner) rang me up the other day and said she’d won the mares’ bumper last year so let’s go for the Champion bumper. I thought ‘well why not’,” said Mullins.
“He was hoping that she might get some black-type and finish second or third. Jamie worked the oracle and managed to squeeze a win out of her.”