Mullins unveils latest star mare
News from Thursday's card at Tramore, where Camelia De Cotte entered Cheltenham Festival calculations.
Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci combined for a 1/5 winner
Camelia De Cotte entered Cheltenham Festival calculations with a most impressive Irish debut in the opening race of the afternoon at Tramore.
Third on her only previous start over hurdles in France, the Willie Mullins-trained mare was a prohibitively-priced 1/5 favourite for the Online Tickets From www.tramore-racecourse.com Mares Maiden Hurdle and those who took the cramped odds will have had few concerns throughout the two-mile contest.
Ruby Walsh positioned the market leader close to the pace from the off and after giving his mount her head before the second flight from the finish, Camelia De Cotte readily pulled clear to score by 15 lengths with the minimum of fuss.
Mick Winters was responsible for the second and third, with runner-up Blazes Peg a long way clear of her stable companion Leila's Island.
Walsh said: "She was a little bit keen at home, so we didn't know how she'd handle the track, but she settled relatively well and jumped super.
"It wasn't the strongest race on paper, but I'd say it was a good performance Not many take that much pulling up at Tramore on quick ground, let alone soft ground. She did that nicely and I'm sure Willie will be happy."
Sky Bet cut Camelia De Cotte to 7/1 Trull House Stud Mares Novices' Hurdle at Prestbury Park next March.
"An impressive start, make no mistake, but those above her in the market are there because they've showcased stronger form so far," said racing PR manager Michael Shinners. "Still, those famed Ricci silks and a performance like that mean she's a mare we'll probably be looking to keep on-side."
Boylesports make the four-year-old their 5/1 second-favourite behind Royal Bond-winning stable companion Airlie Beach, with Augusta Kate, Asthuria and Let's Dance also prominent in a market dominated by Ireland's champion trainer.
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