Taunton first for Willie Mullins with promising Myska
Willie Mullins struck gold with his first ever runner at Taunton as Myska kept her unbeaten record intact in the Happy New Year From totepool Mares' Novices' Hurdle.
An impressive winner of a Clonmel bumper before making a successful debut over jumps at Thurles, the five-year-old stepped up to Listed class after making the journey to Somerset and was the 10-11 favourite in the hands of Ruby Walsh.
Myska was a little keen in the early stages before being settled by Walsh in an extended two-mile contest run in atrocious conditions.
The hat-trick-seeking Jessber's Dream committed for home early in the straight, but the Irish challenger loomed ominously alongside after jumping the second-last and although she fluffed her lines at the final flight, with the rail to help she galloped clear for a two-and-a-half-length success.
Paddy Power promoted Myska to 5-1 joint-favouritism for the inaugural running of the Grade Two Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March with stablemate Limini.
"Job done. There's a shortage of mares' novice hurdles in Ireland, this one cropped up in the programme book and it was Listed, so it's nice to come with a mare and get some black type," Walsh told At The Races.
"She improved a lot with her jumping from Thurles. These were new hurdles to her and she had a look at the first two, but she warmed up then.
"I think we went a really good gallop for the ground, it rode a good race and we kept at it well.
"She's a fine mare and has very little experience when you think about it. She's only run in a bumper and a maiden hurdle, so to step up into a novice like that and win was a good performance.
"She's a good filly - I don't know if we've too many better than her."