Lossiemouth sets the record straight in Triumph Hurdle.
Lossiemouth easily justified favouritism in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, giving the legions of Irish racing fans at Cheltenham a raucous start to St. Patrick’s Day.
Willie Mullins, the trainer, saddled at least seven of the 15 runners and sent the first four home, making the grey filly the fifth horse in history to win the race.
Even though Gala Marceau, winner of Lossiemouth at the Dublin Racing Festival, did a good job staying on to take second place from Zenta, the race was over when the 11-8 market leader cruised up on the bridle to take it up after jumping the penultimate flight, winning by two and a quarter lengths at the line.
The Mullins quartet was completed by Gust Of Wind, jockey Paul Townend’s fourth win of the week.
The Closutton handler had previously won the race with Burning Victory in 2020 and Vauban in the previous four years.
Mullins said: “She travelled into the race at maybe the five-furlong marker and rather than fighting her Paul just let her gallop and held onto her as much as he could for a long as he could.
“He thought she was actually idling come up the straight and thinks there is a little bit more in the tank – she looks a star mare.
“But for the traffic problems in Leopardstown she’d be unbeaten for us. I’m very happy with how they all ran, bar Blood Destiny (finished ninth) who was disappointing. I don’t know what happened to him, but all the rest ran their race.
“It’s a nice start to the day.”
Asked whether Lossiemouth could be a candidate for next year’s Champion Hurdle, Mullins added: “She’s a possibility the way she came up that hill there anyway. There’s every possibility that she’ll go down that route.”
Delighted owner Rich Ricci, celebrating his 20th Festival winner, said: “I felt unlucky on the day after her last run and I’m delighted the one who beat us that day was second as it franks the form. She’s a lovely filly with a lot of scope, she’s National Hunt bred and is very nice.
“Paul said coming down the hill she wanted to crack on, he held on to her just enough, she filled up and she responded to him which is great as it shows maturity. He said when he let him go she was great.
“I glad for Paul as Willie hammered him the last day. For the record I didn’t think it was Paul’s fault I thought the tactics were wrong so it’s Willie’s fault actually! Willie had his best Jose Mourinho moment and found someone else to blame, but on the day Paul was gutted. Sport is about redemption, I always say that.
“It’s great to be a part of this, Tuesday was such a special day with Honeysuckle and Constitution Hill Hill, then yesterday with Henry (de Bromhead) winning on the day there was a race named after Jack (de Bromhead), it’s a very special week.
“To have a winner is special, it’s our 20th winner but you never take it for granted, we’ve had enough losers.”
Of Gala Marceau, owner Kenny Alexander said: “She has run an absolute blinder. We beat the winner last time at Leopardstown, so there will have to be a rematch.
“I will definitely not be scared to take her on again and that will probably be at Punchestown, all being well, at the end of next month.”