Kildare trainer Jessica Harrington landed a winner in the Maiden Hurdle with Impact Factor on Saturday afternoon at Punchestown, but the day belonged to Willie Mullins who continued his good start to 2018 with a treble at the Kildare venue.
Harrington's highly rated six-year-old went off as a strong favourite at 4/7 under jockey Robbie Power, and he backed that up by putting in an accomplished performance, though he was pushed to the end by 16/1 outsider Eagle Lion who finished a length and a half further back in second.
It was the second win in six days for Harrington in her home county after Another Barney won at Naas the previous Sunday.
It was all about Willie Mullins at Punchestown however, with the Champion Trainer taking three wins, the most notable of which was that of Getabird in the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle. The gelding of Getaway was well-backed before the race at trackside, and Paddy Power have now pushed him in to 7/2 for the Supreme Novices hurdle.
Patrick Mullins was on board the winner, who finished an impressive nine lengths clear of Gordon Elliot's Mengli Khan while another Mullins' horse, Carter McKay, came in third.
"Patrick getting down to 11st 2lb paid off!" said Willie Mullins.
"He jumped fantastic and way better than his first run. I was a bit worried would he be able to jump at the speed they would be going here.
"He jumped out, made his own running, and jumped very well. I'm very happy to have won that race with him.
"All the rain we got last night was a big help to him but certainly he seemed to have plenty of pace there.
"I don't know what route we're going to go but you'd have to think as a Supreme Novices trial that he'd be good enough for that, but he'll certainly be entered for the other races like the Ballymore.
"Jumping the way he did that brings the Supreme Novice into the picture. After his first run I was a little bit worried but certainly the way he was there he'd be well able to jump with any novice.
"The speed he showed was very good. He got a nice bunch of horses off the bridle and we're on the way up I think.
"He's staying sound so fingers crossed. I don't know yet if he'll go straight to Cheltenham. We'll see how he comes out of it.
"Carter Mckay (3rd home) had a nice run but he'll have to go up in trip I'd think."
Mullins also won the 5/4 Novice Steeplechase with Invitation Only, and second placed Koshari ensured it was a Mullins one-two in that one.
He rounded off a successful afternoon in Punchestown by watching on as Patrick won the flat race on the card with Relegate in the final event of the day.
There were also wins for Carlow trainer Thomas Foley as Goaheadmakemyday took the Mares' Handicap Hurdle, and trainer Anthony Mullins tasted success with Glencairn View in the Amateur National Steeplechase. Bilbo Baggins was a winner in the opening race of the day for trainer Adrian Mullins.
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