Mullins day three treble: Trainer Willie Mullins registered his first success in the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle and gained his third victory of the day at the Cheltenham Festival, after Nichols Canyon ran out a game 10/1 winner of the three-mile hurdling showpiece on day three, St Patrick’s Thursday, of the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.
In a superb finish to the Grade One event, Walsh and the seven-year-old son of Authorized kept on resolutely up the stands’ side rail to get the better of Neil King’s ultra-consistent Lil Rockerfeller (33/1) by three-quarters of a length.
The well-backed 5/6 favourite Unowhatimeanharry, trained by Harry Fry, was a further three and a half-lengths back in third.
A delighted Mullins, registering his 51st winner at The Festival, said: “It was some performance. I didn’t think three miles would suit him particularly as I thought he would be too keen, but Ruby got him settled and got the rail in the home straight.
“He is tough and with age they learn to settle. His last bit of work, we changed his stable and his work rider. He always works a bit dead at home so we thought about a change of routine and it worked.
“I thought of all the horses in the world you want to jump the last, you want him and he did. He had the benefit of the rail which also helped.
“He has handled very soft ground over two miles but he handled that ground today fine.
“It’s absolutely magic. I enjoyed that one, the first two were probably relief but that was a little unexpected as I was wondering whether he would come alive as he hasn’t in his two races this season.”