Minella Beau breaks hurdling duck at first time of asking
Ruby Walsh registered his first victory at the 2017 Galway Festival when Minella Beau made a successful hurdling debut in the Win Big With Tote Maiden Hurdle.
The well-backed 5-4 favourite was tackling obstacles for the first time under Rules but Walsh was happy to set his own pace, and he was tracked by fellow Willie Mullins inmate Castello Sforza from halfway.
A mistake two out put paid to his stable companion's chances, with Turbojet emerging as the chief threat, but Minella Beau had plenty left in the tank and held on by three-quarters of a length.
Patrick Mullins, representing his father, said: "It's fantastic for (owners) the Mees. It was Michael's idea to come here. We'd have put him out until the winter but Michael said if the ground was safe that he should run here.
"He wants further and softer ground to be seen at his best. He came to us from the point-to-points."
Patrick Mullins donned the Mee silks to land the Win Big With Tote (Q.R.) Maiden on his father's Exchange Rate.
Successful in a bumper but having his first outing under Flat Rules, the easy-to-back 7-2 chance looked in need of a run two furlongs out, but the gap came and he responded well to his rider's urgings to dispose of Great Trango by two and a quarter lengths.