Willie Mullins’ disappointment at not winning the British trainers’ championship can swiftly be allayed on day one of the Punchestown Festival.
Mullins sends a ridiculously good team to the County Kildare knees-up and must seriously fancy his chances of scooping a Grade One clean sweep at the opening fixture.
Yorkhill looks a good thing in the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle, but perhaps Outlander offers punters a bit more value in the Growise Champion Novice Chase.
The high-class novice has National hero Rule The World to worry about, but the fellow Gigginstown House Stud runner is taken to come out on top.
Outlander is already a Grade One scorer, having struck at Leopardstown in February, but he had no luck whatsoever in the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.
Lots went wrong and little went right for the eight-year-old, who ended up falling four fences from home when still in a decent pitch.
Outlander took quite a hefty fall at Cheltenham, so it was probably not that big a shock that he was slightly off-key in the Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase at Fairyhouse, in which he still did well enough to finish second.
And having resisted the advances of Aintree, Mullins should have him back at fever pitch for this assignment.
Though he steps up to just over three miles for the first time in his career, everything Outlander has done so far over fences tends to suggest this sort of trip will be just the ticket.
Nicky Henderson’s genius handling of Sprinter Sacre surely gives Simonsig’s supporters plenty of hope in the BoyleSports Champion Chase.
Even so, it is still tough to imagine the returning grey being able to live with a fully wound-up Vautour.
Bath: 1.40 Funny Oyster, 2.10 Duke Of North, 2.45 Kreb’s Cycle, 3.20 Life Less Ordinary, 3.55 Jive Time, 4.30 Subordinate, 5.05 Smiley Bagel.
Brighton: 1.50 Sheila’s Lad, 2.20 Fitzwilliam, 2.55 Tears Of The Sun, 3.30 Lady Kyllar, 4.05 Born To Finish, 4.40 Good Luck Charm, 5.15 Senor George.
Lingfield: 4.35 Easydoesit, 5.10 Decadent Times, 5.40 D’Niro, 6.15 Attain, 6.50 Easy Tiger, 7.25 Aragon Knight, 7.55 First Experience.
Nottingham: 2.00 Archimento, 2.35 Berkeley Vale, 3.05 La Superba, 3.35 Norse Magic, 4.10 Angel Grace, 4.45 Caged Lightning, 5.20 First Bombardment.
Punchestown: 3.40 Be Positive, 4.20 Yorkhill, 4.55 Waxies Dargle, 5.30 Vautour, 6.05 Cadeau Du Bresil, 6.40 OUTLANDER (NAP), 7.15 Brelade.
Wolverhampton: 5.55 Mr Red Clubs, 6.30 King Cole, 7.05 Broughtons Fancy, 7.40 Hakam, 8.10 Planetoid, 8.40 Knights Table, 9.10 Little Choosey.
Double: Outlander and Vautour.