Classy Quevega conquers World again
Quevega landed the Ladbrokes.com World Series Hurdle at Punchestown for the third year in a row.
Willie Mullins' remarkable eight-year-old retained her mares' hurdle crown at the Cheltenham Festival again last month, but was opposed here by Voler La Vedette, who had given Big Buck's a race at Prestbury Park.
The big two came to the fore approaching the final flight, but the finishing kick of the 11/10 favourite was decisive as she put five and a half lengths between herself and her rival by the post.
Mullins said: "She's a good mare. Obviously Voler La Vedette was in some form and had great form coming into the race so I was quite worried, but she did the business.
"We keep it simple - one run every six months! We've taken her to Auteuil once or twice but I'm not sure, we'll see how she comes out of this but we'll stick to the same programme next year I would think."
Asked if he could be tempted to clash with Big Buck's, Mullins said: "I'll take on Big Buck's at Cheltenham if they can get him entered in the mares' hurdle, is that good enough! The programme we follow works fantastic so I'm not looking for diversions. We follow a plan and it works well.
"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."
Reflecting on the victory, Mullins said: "She did what Ruby asked her and when push came to shove she still had plenty left in the tank. She pinged the last - not like last year - and as we would never have minded taking on the best over two miles, we knew she wouldn't be found wanting for a change of gear.
"She won three on the Flat before she ever came to me. She's a real good mare and she showed that today. It was a fantastic performance and a great ride by Ruby too. She came in season last week but she came out of it quick enough."
Walsh said: "She was very good, we went a good gallop in testing ground but she settled well and jumped really well. Off the bend it looked the match that it was, but Voler La Vedette started to fold going to the last hurdle and my mare stayed better. Quevega's a great mare."