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Mckinley takes the honours

Willie Mullins landed the 'For Auction' Novice Hurdle at Navan as Mckinley led home a Gigginstown House Stud one-two in the hands of Bryan Cooper.

With Mumbo Bay setting a sedate gallop in the Grade Three contest, 11-4 chance Mckinley sat on his tail before moving smoothly to the front rounding the home bend.

Mumbo Bay proved a persistent challenger until the second-last, after which the champion trainer's runner put the race to bed with a smart change of gear, skipping over the last and being kept up to his work to seal victory over Fort Smith by two and three-quarter lengths.

Hot favourite Princely Conn failed to pick up in a slowly run race and was well held in third.

Mullins, who went on to a treble, said: "He's improving nicely all the time. I'd say that ground stayed nice and wasn't too soft. He'll go up in grade now. He seemed to be galloping away at the end of two miles there and was up in the van the whole way.

"I'd rather have nice ground for him, I don't think he's a real middle of the winter horse, but we'll see and let him tell us."

The victory was some sort of compensation for Mullins after long odds-on favourite Uradel proved a bitter disappointment in the Join Navan Members 2015 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle.

Having won twice on the Flat in France before finishing fifth in the Melrose Stakes at York on his debut for the Closutton team, Uradel was all the rage as the 2-5 market leader.

The hooded three-year-old travelled well for most of the two-mile journey, but the response was limited once Ruby Walsh asked him to close on the leaders at the top of the home straight and he finished well beaten.

The Jessica Harrington-trained Kabjoy, next in the betting at 9-2, had shown a decent level of ability on the level and was never too far off the pace in the hands of Robbie Power.

She moved smoothly to the lead after jumping the third-last flight and a good leap at the final obstacle sealed her five-and-a-half-length victory. Prussian Eagle was a clear second, ahead of Lady Clitico in third.

Power said: "She did it well. From the first day we schooled her she was a natural and loves jumping. She's very, very good and enjoys it. She handled the ground well and hopefully we have a nice winter to look forward to with her."


From Belfast Telegraph