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With Fairyhouse’s success, Lot Of Joy secures a Cheltenham ticket.

In clearing hurdles at Fairyhouse, Lot Of Joy appears to have secured her ticket to the Cheltenham Festival.

The five-year-old horse made his debut for Willie Mullins by placing fourth in a Galway Premier Handicap before finishing third to Waterville in the Irish Cesarewitch.

The daughter of Camelot has since finished second in both of her outings over timber, finishing behind a pair of useful operators. However, she didn’t make any mistakes when she was sent off as the 1-7 favorite for the Fairyhouse Schooling Races Mares Maiden Hurdle.

Lot Of Joy set her sights on the Ryanair Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Prestbury Park, a race for which she is as short as 8-1 with Paddy Power, after following the pace under Paul Townend’s direction. Approaching two furlongs out, she blitzed to the front and pulled away from the runner-up by an impressive 12 lengths.

“She’s learning and bringing her back to two miles was probably the best thing to do. She’s learning to race like a National Hunt mare now rather than a Flat mare,” said Mullins.

“She’s settling better and jumping better. We’re very pleased with her progress.

“She’s in the mares’ novice at Cheltenham and I’d imagine that will be her next target. She’ll be easier to ride there as there is usually a very good pace in that. We’re looking forward to it.”

Mullins got on the board right away when Instit, a 2-to-7 favorite, easily won the first Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase. This victory was part of a treble for Mullins on the day.

In the Fairyhouse Easter Festival Maiden Hurdle, Viva Devito justified 4-5 favoritism, securing the three-timer.

The six-year-old horse showed his talent by winning by a decisive 21 lengths on his hurdles debut, finishing second to Joyeux Machin of Paul Nolan over course and distance before finishing fifth at Leopardstown at Christmas.

“I’m not sure that he settled but he looks a powerful jumper,” said Mullins.

“He’s very forward going and I’d imagine I’ll plan a campaign at home and maybe end up at Fairyhouse at Easter.

“I’m hoping that going over fences could settle him and we’ll look forward to that, maybe next season.”

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