Mick Jazz dents Emery hopes
The latest news from Punchestown, where Mick Jazz lowered the colours of the highly-touted Cilaos Emery in the opener.
Winner Mick Jazz (far side) and Cilaos Emery take the final flight locked in battle for the INH Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
Mick Jazz lowered the colours of the highly-touted Cilaos Emery in the INH Stallion Owners European Breeders Fund Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
Sent off an odds-on favourite, Cilaos Emery was expected to enhance his Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle claims but was run down close home by Gordon Elliott's charge.
Formerly with Harry Fry, Mick Jazz (7/1) was last seen finishing third in a Fairyhouse handicap and his extra experience came to the fore under Jack Kennedy.
Cilaos Emery was very keen under Ruby Walsh and that perhaps told as he was run out of the finish in the final 100 yards.
Elliott said: "It was a good performance. We were toying with going to the Betfair Hurdle next week but we felt a winner in Ireland is more important.
"He won't run next week now and we could look at something like the County Hurdle in Cheltenham.
"I knew he'd go to the turn-in on the bridle, but you always wonder what they will find off it. In fairness, he had to pull out all the stops to beat the other horse."
Elliott may have gained the day in the first race, but it was the Mullins team who was on the mark in the Pertemps Network Group Handicap Hurdle.
With Walsh aboard stablemate The Crafty Butcher, Danny Mullins stepped in to ride Isleofhopendreams at the bottom of the handicap for the Closutton handler and he delivered his mount with a perfectly-timed challenge.
Sent off an 11/2 chance, Isleofhopendreams was buried in the pack as Val De Ferbet cut out the early pace, but it appeared to be Sutton Manor who had stolen the advantage when hitting the front on the turn for home.
However, Mullins got a good run through on the rail to cut down Sutton Manor on the run to the line, eventually coming home two and a quarter lengths clear.
Oscar Sam claimed third with The Crafty Butcher crashing out with four hurdles left to jump.
Mullins is now looking to the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival with his charge.
He said: "(It was a) very good performance and (he) is improving all the time. I'd imagine that he will go for the Final and should get in now.
"An extra few furlongs would not do him any harm, and I'd like soft ground for him."