The brilliant mare Quevega (11/10 Fav) was saddled by Willie Mullins to win her third successive Ladbrokes.com World Series Hurdle under jockey Ruby Walsh.
“She is just an extraordinary mare. She did everything Ruby asked, he had no problems throughout the race and she was in real racing mode today,” said Mullins, who was enjoying his seventh success of the 2012 Festival.
“She has a lot of speed and won three times on the Flat before coming to Ireland and I put her in the two-mile race tomorrow as I wouldn’t afraid of taking them on. We think she’s better on better ground as well.
“She’s a really good mare and showed it today – Voler La Vedette came into the race with good credentials after her great run at Cheltenham so we were a bit worried about that for Quevega. But she did the business and I’m absolutely delighted with her. She is just an extraordinary mare.
“She’s fantastic to train and I was a bit worried because she came into season last week but she went out of season quick enough. I don’t know whether we’ll go to Auteuil now, I’ll have a chat to the owners.”
Asked if she would take on Big Buck’s at some point, Mullins said: “As long as he gets an entry in the mares’ race at Cheltenham! But seriously I think we will just do the same next season and why change?
“The plan we follow with Quevega works fantastically well. We always try and get her ready forCheltenham with a month to spare so if anyone thing does go wrong we have her fairly fit. I’m going to keep it simple and I suppose we might meet Big Buck’s somewhere away from Cheltenham but I wouldn’t really want to miss this race to go to Aintree.”
Friday 27th April – Day four of the Punchestown Festival
4.55 – Ryanair Novice Steeplechase (Grade 1) 2 miles €100,000
5.30 – Rabobank Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2 miles €160,000
6.05 – Cathal Ryan memorial Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 2 miles 4 furlongs €80,000
6.40 – Star Best For Racing Coverage Novice Hurdle 2 miles €22,500
7.10 – ITBA Fillies Scheme Premier Bumper €60,000
Saturday 28th April – Day 5 of the Punchestown Festival
2.30 – The irish Field Steeplechase 3 miles €10,000.00
3.10 – thetote.com Punchestown Gold Cup (Grade 1) 3 miles 1 furlong €140,000
3.45 – Guinness Handicap Steeplechase of €80,000 (Grade A) 2 miles 4 furlongs €80,000
4.25 – ITBA Fillies Scheme EBF (Mares) Hurdle (Grade 3) 2 miles 2 furlongs €60,000
5.00 – The AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle (Grade 1) 2 miles €80,000
5.35 – The Setantabet.com Hurdle (handicap) €80,000 2 miles 4 furlongs (Grade B)