Saturnas in orbit for Mullins

Saturnas claimed Grade One honours in the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Paul Townend: Won aboard Saturnas

Willie Mullins' charge was second in the Royal Bond but Peace News fell when challenging in that race and was sent off favourite to make amends.

Henry de Bromhead's charge did not travel with any real fluency, though, whereas Saturnas was always going well in the hands of Paul Townend.

He challenged on the run to the last and while Brelade tried to go with him, the 9-2 chance was a willing partner for Townend and prevailed by two lengths.

Mullins said: "He did it the hard way. We knew there was going to be a good pace. We weren't afraid to make it, but anyway we weren't allowed.

"He jumped and galloped and he has lots of stamina. You can depend on his jumping and that's what keeps him in the race. Stamina then won it for him.

"He'll probably come back here for the Deloitte."

He went on: "It was good for my owner (Nick Peacock). I think he is just back from two or three months' holidays.

"I thought he maybe just met Airlie Beach on a good day in Fairyhouse. Certainly today I felt he travelled a lot better the whole way.

"It's also fantastic for Paul to get a Grade One winner. It's not often Ruby (Walsh) picks the wrong one. I'm delighted for Paul.

"Ruby's just wasn't jumping behind but I think that horse ran a cracker and if we can get his jumping right he could be a force."

Townend said: "He ran a nice race in Fairyhouse in the Royal Bond, he just bumped into Willie's other one (Airlie Beach). He came on for that I thought.

"It was a proper race, a true-run race. It was a good gallop and he jumped super and he ground it out, he was very tough.

"He travelled a bit sweeter today. Maybe it was the ground, I don't know, but he definitely carried me a lot better today."

Read More at Sporting Life

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