Augusta above par at Thurles

Augusta Kate impressed on her hurdling debut at Thurles when bringing up a treble for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh.

Augusta Kate impressed on her hurdling debut

Having also landed the opening two races with Bellow Mome (2/1) and Champagne Fever (11/8), the champion trainer and jockey combined to complete a hat-trick with exciting mare Augusta Kate in the Sportsmens Mares Maiden Hurdle.

Owned by a syndicate that includes leading owner Graham Wylie, former England international footballer Alan Shearer, golfer Lee Westwood and TV personalities Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, Augusta Kate won three of her five starts in bumper company last season and performed well in defeat at Cheltenham and Aintree.

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Despite having to concede weight all round, the five-year-old was the 2/9 favourite for her jumping debut and those who took the prohibitive odds will have had few concerns for the duration of the near three-mile contest.

Augusta Kate jumped accurately throughout and cruised clear from the home turn, safely negotiating the final flight to seal a three-length victory over Ask Susan.

Mullins said: "She jumped nicely and I didn't think a trip would be any problem to her, even though I don't like starting them off at that trip. It was a mares' maiden so we said we'd take our chance.

"We'll step her up nicely in class around Christmas time – a nice novice race.

"Ruby said she was a bit keen early on and was just trying to settle her but he was delighted with her."

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