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Loch the key for Mullins and Walsh

Loch Ard handled conditions the best to run out a convincing winner of the Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Hurdle at Punchestown.

Wrekin Rock made a brave bid to lead all the way but he was headed by Ruby Walsh on Willie Mullins' charge before the final flight where he came down.

That left the 6-4 favourite to bound clear and score by 33 lengths from Un Beau Matin, with Dysios third.

"We'll try to find another race for him if the weather stays like this but he's on the team for France and will probably go for the four-year-old hurdle at Auteuil next," said Mullins.

Walsh said: "Loch Ard travelled well, jumped well and found plenty in. He's a fairish horse and he did it well.

"The ground isn't too bad - the water is lying on top but it's all surface water. There's a good bottom to it and it is perfectly safe."

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