Willie Mullins ends Lexus hex as Don Poli grinds it out at Leopardstown
Don Poli ended Willie Mullins' long wait for success in the Lexus Chase with a narrow verdict in the big race at Leopardstown.
Despite his domination of Irish National Hunt racing, Mullins had never won the Christmas highlight and provided half of the six-runner field, also saddling On His Own and Sir Des Champs.
Don Poli (4-6 favourite) did the business under Bryan Cooper, but the 4-6 favourite only hung on by half a length from First Lieutenant, also wearing the winning colours of Gigginstown House Stud.
Mullins said: "It's hard to know how good he is and how much more he has to produce. We'll have to think about the Hennessy (at Leopardstown in February) but that was tough, coming back so soon after his first run.
"It was his first senior Grade One and I don't think too many people will be shortening for the Gold Cup after that. Would the bare form of that race win the Gold Cup? I don't know.
"I was a bit disappointed with Sir Des Champs (fifth) but On His Own (fourth) ran a cracker.
"I think he (On His Own) is better with the blinkers and he'll get an entry in the Gold Cup."