Arkwrisht proves best for Willie Mullins at Clonmel
Willie Mullins extended his excellent recent record in the Surehaul Mercedes-Benz Novice Hurdle at Clonmel as Arkwrisht ran out a determined winner under Ruby Walsh.
The 12-1 shot was one of three runners for leading owners Gigginstown House Stud, with retained rider Bryan Cooper preferring the winner's stable companion Stone Hard to both Arkwrisht and the Gordon Elliott-trained Roman Gold.
With the two-mile-six-furlong Grade Three having been run at a sedate gallop for a long way, Walsh took the bull by the horns heading down the back straight, rushing Arkwrisht to the front in an apparent attempt to run the finish out of his rivals.
Cooper and Stone Hard went in pursuit, as did Luke Dempsey aboard Westend Star.
Stone Hard weakened disappointingly in the straight, though, and while Westend Star did his best to make a race of it, Arkwrisht safely negotiated the final flight to seal a two-and-a-half-length verdict.
Mullins said: "He didn't jump great but he stays all day and is improving with every run.
"He could go for the Purcell Hurdle at Thurles or maybe the Albert Bartlett (at Cheltenham). It would be an extra quarter-mile but that was like three miles on the ground. I'm very happy with him.
"I was very disappointed with Stone Hard. He had worked well during the week but it's back to the drawing board with him."