No excuses for beaten Bapaume

Willie Mullins is making no excuses for Bapaume after Mega Fortune turned the tables on him in Sunday's Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Bapaume pictured on his way to victory at Leopardstown over Christmas

Bapaume had finished ahead of Gordon Elliott's charge on his two previous starts, but Mega Fortune emphatically reversed the form to claim Grade One glory.

Bapaume was far from disgraced in second, however, and remains a leading contender for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham at around 10/1.

"The winner was very good and did it the hard way out in front. The cheekpieces made a huge difference to him," said Mullins.

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"I think our fellow ran his race."

The champion trainer also saddled Meri Devie, who having made an impressive hurdling debut at the track over Christmas, ran with credit to finish fourth.

The French import can be backed at 20/1 for the Triumph Hurdle on March 17.

Mullins said: "Meri Devie will improve. She was a bit sketchy jumping.

"She actually probably needed it. I thought she was straight enough but Paul (Townend) thought she might have needed it.

"She'll improve, but whether she'll improve enough to win a Grade One is another day's work."

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