Mouchoir delivers Grade 1 delight for De Bromhead
Report: Leopardstown, Sunday
BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m, 4yo+
Petit Mouchoir made it two Grade 1 victories on the bounce by making virtually all in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle to complete a Grade 1 double on the Leopardstown card for trainer Henry de Bromhead, who was unconcerned about mixed bookmaker reaction to the six-year-old’s length victory.
Ladbrokes left the winner unchanged at 9-2 for the Stan James Champion Hurdle while Paddy Power were less impressed, easing the Gigginstown House Stud-owned grey to 6-1 (from 9-2).
De Bromhead said: “It doesn’t concern me. That’s the bookmakers business and they’re entitled to their opinion but I’m just delighted with Petit Mouchoir’s performance. It’s not easy to do what he has now done twice in a row - make the running flat to the mat all the way and keep it up to the line. David [Mullins] gave him a super ride.
“He’s not a fast horse at home but he's a great galloper. Whether he has to make it himself or not he loves a really strong gallop. I don't like to compare horses but his style of racing reminds me of Sizing Europe who won this race for us in 2008.
“It’s been a sensational week for us, winning this race and the Arkle with Some Plan here today and the Thyestes with Champagne West on Thursday. We’re having a fantastic season and hopefully things will continue to go well.”
With Faugheen an absentee due to a pulled muscle, Willie Mullins' bid for a seventh consecutive win in the event rested with Nichols Canyon and Footpad and it was the latter who fared the better, finishing second while Nichols Canyon fell at the final hurdle.
Taken on from three out by Nichols Canyon, Petit Mouchoir appeared to have Ruby Walsh’s mount held in second place when that rival crashed out, leaving stablemate Footpad to take the runner-up spot.
Footpad, who had finished 14 and a half lengths behind Petit Mouchoir in the Ryanair Hurdle last month, finished well without quite getting to the winner and jockey Daryl Jacob said: “Footpad ran a cracking race. He’s a very consistent performer and he stayed on well off a strong pace. He improved a good bit from his run here at Christmas and is coming right at the right time of year.”
Ivanovich Gorbatov, winner of the JCB Triumph Hurdle last season, was a further 37 lengths back in third and never able to get involved. His trainer Joseph O’Brien: “He was never travelling at any stage. I can’t give an excuse unless something comes to light. He might need to go up in trip.”