Perth Festival Round Up
What a Perth Festival debut Willie Mullins had as the legendary Irish trainer made a perfect start with his first course runners, Up For Review and Nambour, supplying him with a one-two in the British Stallions Future Champions EBF "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle.
The winner was driven out by Paul Townend to slam his stable companion by eight lengths.
Willie Mullins was quick to heap praise on Perth after his first visit to the Fair City track, saying:
"It may not have been in the order many expected but I'm delighted. It's our first visit here and I've been very well looked after. I walked the track and it is in beautiful condition considering the winter everyone has had."
Britain's most northerly trainer, Inverurie-based Jackie Stephen, struck in the opening Aberdeen Asset Management Maiden Hurdle with Tony Kelly-ridden Ballinvegga.
Day two of the Festival featured an emphatic winner in Witness In Court in the Kilmany Cup, for the second year running.
Ridden by Henry Brooke and trained by Donald McCain, the 12/1 chance romped home two and a quarter lengths clear of Tennis Cap.
Henry Brooke said: "He's absolute class and a smashing little horse. He jumped round great and seems to love it here."
Champion Richard Johnson took his tally at Perth to 18 - more than any other British course - when riding a double for Philip Hobbs on Braavos and Ink Master.
On day three, Double Whammy was a most impressive winner of the Deeside Timberframe Highland National under Irish claimer Shane Shortall.
Always travelling best, the 9/2 chance jumped ahead at the last to slam Presented by eight lengths.
Winning trainer Iain Jardine said: "He wants this better ground and might come back here for the Perth Gold Cup later in the summer. He's a fair animal and never came off the bridle. The hold up tactics have obviously helped too and today it also make sure he saw out this longer trip."
Willie Mullins saddled his third winner of the Perth Festival when Rolly Baby landed the McCarthy & Stone Novices' Limited Handicap Chase.
Winning jockey Paul Townend, also rode his third winner of the week, saying: "It's a grand place and a great festival atmosphere. I've enjoying ridden round and, of course, it makes a difference when you have a success or two."
Perth Racecourse chief executive Hazel Peplinski said: “What an incredible start to the season, the Perth Festival was everything we hoped it would be and then some. From Willie Mullins writing his own script to the sun shining down on the massive crowds who turned out – we’re just catching our breath before moving on to the next two fixtures on 11 and 12 May which promise to deliver more outstanding racing from Scotland’s most popular racecourse.”