Willie Mullins was once again the trainer to follow,recording a treble at Naas on Saturday. The champion trainer enjoyed wins courtesy of Marasonnien, Mikael D’Haguenet and Midnight Game.
The first leg of the treble was somewhat fortunate as Marasonnien was nearly down at the opening hurdle before recovering to run out an easy winner. Former Cheltenham winner Mikael D’Haguenet has looked much like his old self this season and he could yet prove the biggest danger to Big Bucks come March.
Midnight Game was a winner at Leopardstown over Christmas and he stepped up in class here to see off Dylan Ross in the featured novice hurdle. Elsewhere on the day, Medical Card caused a 10/1 shot in the Grade 2 novice chase, as he saw off fellow longshot Crash. Pass The Hat claimed the handicap hurdle for Arthur Moore and Barry Cash, while Lead Kindly Light quickened up well close home to win the handicap chase.
The most exciting finish of the afternoon was saved for the finale, as heavily backed favourite Our Vinnie just held the late challenge of The Crafty Butcher. The Charles Byrnes trained winner looked beaten close home but managed to find extra when it mattered and he held on my the minimum.