Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Mikael fluffs Punchestown lines

Mikael D'Haguenet

El Fontan (11-1) ran out a fortunate winner of the Punchestown Gift Vouchers For Christmas Beginners Chase, thanks to a final-fence blunder from Mikael D'Haguenet.

Willie Mullins' 5-4 joint-favourite appeared to be enjoying himself in front and was still cruising when main market rival Mount Benbulben came to grief three from the finish.

Despite a sloppy jump at the next himself, Mikael D'Haguenet still looked to have matters sewn up, only to all but fall at the last, allowing El Fontan to go past for a two-and-three-quarter-length verdict.

Mullins said: "We took the bold option of making the running. He'd been schooling well at home and I was delighted with the way he jumped earlier in the race.

"I didn't dream that the going was going to be that testing. I'd say race fitness just caught him out."

Gordon Elliott gained some compensation for Mount Benbulben's spill when 6/4 market leader Tarquinius took the 10 Euro Admission Handicap Chase.

Money Spider confirmed the promise her jumping debut third when justifying 4-6 favouritism in the Ballymore GAA Christmas Fair & Family Fun Day 3-Y-O Hurdle.

John O'Shea's filly drew alongside Dayrina approaching the final flight and wasn't hard pressed to score by six and a half lengths.