Quevega makes it three in a row at Punchestown
Report: Punchestown, Thursday
Ladbrokes.com World Series Hurdle (Grade 1) 4yo+, 3m
LAST month Quevega was the heroine of Cheltenham as she secured a fourth David Nicholson and she seamlessly transferred that awesome ability to Punchestown on Thursday to make it three World Series Hurdles on the trot.
Willie Mullins' magnificent eight-year-old defeated main rival Voler La Vedette in a display of imperious superiority after the final flight.
"She's a real good mare and she's showed it today," said Mullins. "I suppose some people thought she probably hadn't met much before, but Voler La Vedette had the credentials today after her good run at Cheltenham."
Mullins said he was unsure if he would head to France with her next month, as he did following Punchestown in 2009.
"I don't know whether to go back to Auteuil with her or not," he said. "For me she has done enough this year."
Paddy Power subsequently installed her as an evens chance to claim a fifth David Nicholson at next year's Cheltenham Festival, thus equalling Golden Miller's feat of winning the same Cheltenham race five years running.
On Thursday's evidence, it is hard to see what could stop her. Voler La Vedette jumped and ran well at the rear, two positions behind Quevega.
The pair - joined by Mourad - came into the straight virtually alongside each other, setting up an exhilarating finale.
Mourad crumbled first and then approaching the last Voler La Vedette showed the first signs of vulnerability, which Ruby Walsh on Quevega took full advantage of as he drove out his mount for a five-and-a-half length win.
Such is Quevega's dominance of her division some have speculated she may face World Hurdle champion Big Buck's, but Mullins poured cold water on the possible clash.
"I've no problem tackling Big Buck's and if he gets into the mares' hurdle next year we'll take him on," he said. "Why change what's not broken?"