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Cheltenham 2017: Dennison delighted to see Yorkhill flourish

Winner alright: Ruby Walsh is all smiles aboard Yorkhill
Winner alright: Ruby Walsh is all smiles aboard Yorkhill

By Ron McKnight

Normal service was resumed when Yorkhill won the opening JLT Novices Chase at Cheltenham yesterday, bringing a smile to the faces of trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh.

"He has Gold Cup horse written all over him," stated the Irish champion jockey, words to cheer leading Templepatrick owner Wilson Dennison, who had forecast that the best was yet to come from his former charges.

Dennison said: "I'm delighted for Willie (Mullins) and Graham and Andrea Wylie, who have bought numerous horses from me over the years - they deserve it."

Yorkhill was recording his second Cheltenham Festival victory - he also has an Aintree success - for connections and the local producer.

The Stayers Hurdle is very special to the Wylie family with their favourite horse, Inglis Drever, having won the race three times. A statue of him is set in the grounds of their home and their very own Nichols Canyon clinched success yesterday.

The Wylies' other runner, Shaneshill, pulled up, likewise another Dennison graduate, Ballyoptic.

Snow Falcon, owned by the local Hunt family, ran a good race, only being outpaced in the closing stages and finishing fifth for trainer Noel Meade.

Sub Lieutenant, winner of the Grade 2 Novice Chase feature at the Down Royal Festival, had to settle for second behind a brilliant performance from Un De Sceaux - another Mullins winner - in the Ryanair Chase.

Asthuria, owned by George Creighton - who owned champion Hurricane Fly - filled fifth in the Mares Hurdle.

Dennison's day ended on a high when Slate Hill, a point to point winner, was sold at the Festival sale of point to point horses to Bloodstock agent Tom Malone for £260,000.

Western Honour, trained by Stuart Crawford to win on his debut at Armagh, fetched £120,000 - again to Malone - while Ex Patriot, an entry in tomorrow's Triumph Hurdle, was sold for £200,000. Palmers Hill topped the sale at £300,000.

Belfast Telegraph


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