Mister Policeman returns to winning ways at Punchestown

By Sports Desk February 18, 2024

Mister Policeman looked to get his career back on track with victory in the Concept Colours Rated Novice Chase at Punchestown.

The Willie Mullins-trained chestnut was purchased by Rich Ricci after hurdles success in France as a four-year-old and got off the mark for new connections at the first time of asking.

His first Irish run was in a two-mile Cork hurdle last April, a race he won comfortably before graduating to fences at the start of this term.

His first attempt at Fairyhouse in November was a success and the gelding then headed to Naas in January and started as the favourite in a two-mile novice.

He was comprehensively beaten on that occasion as Quilixios came home in front with Sa Fureur behind him and Mister Policeman over eight lengths away from the winner in third.

At Punchestown the five-year-old looked to make amends for a sticky round of jumping last time and under Paul Townend he was much improved, travelling well as the 1-2 favourite in a field of five.

Rounding the final bend he was galloping along comfortably and was able to produce a neat jump at the last to pull away to a six-length victory.

Mullins said of the success: “He’s still learning to jump and he’ll probably be better going out in trip at some stage, but this race fitted nicely into his schedule. It will leave him nicely set up for the spring.

“I’d imagine he’ll stay at home and there are plenty of good races to be won. He could go for a novice handicap.”

Rachael Blackmore coaxed home Senior Chief to take the QuinnBet Beginners Chase over two miles and seven furlongs.

The 2-9 favourite had placed in two runs over fences so far and seemed to require a little persuasion throughout the race but scraped home to prevail by three-quarters of a length.

“Rachael said once she turned in she knew it was OK but I’m not so sure,” winning trainer Henry De Bromhead said.

“He’s done little wrong in fairness to him, and the handicapper might reassess him from a mark of 142.

“He looked laboured and Rachael said it’s tough old ground. We’ll look for a handicap now and see where we go from there.

“I’m delighted for the lads (Lucky In Life Syndicate) who are great supporters and a lot of them work at Regeneron in Limerick.”

Related items

  • Mullins has ‘one hand’ on trainers’ championship after Ayr four-timer Mullins has ‘one hand’ on trainers’ championship after Ayr four-timer

    Willie Mullins insists he will be taking nothing for granted in the jump trainers’ title race, despite building up a sizeable lead via an Ayr four-timer which included a crucial Coral Scottish Grand National triumph.

    The Closutton powerhouse began the day £4,982 behind Dan Skelton but powered clear at the top of the table after Macdermott’s big-race success was backed up by wins for Sharjah, Chosen Witness and Quai De Bourbon.

    “We’ve one hand on it, but there’s £650,000 in prize-money next weekend, so we can’t stop and we have to keep going – we’ll see you at Ffos Las on Monday,” said Mullins, who is bidding to become the first trainer from Ireland to add the British crown since the great Vincent O’Brien did it in successive years in the 1950s.

    Tommy’s Oscar (15-2) gave everyone an early reminder that it was not all about just the big three trainers when kicking off proceedings with his 12th career victory in the Scotty Brand Handicap Chase for Ann Hamilton.

    Mullins then struck the first significant blow when Sharjah was given a beautiful ride by Paul Townend to land the CPMS Novices’ Champion Handicap Chase at 7-1, securing £25,720 for his team.

    The six-time Grade One winner over hurdles was being tried over three miles for the first time and had to shoulder top-weight of 12st, but he cruised through from the rear to hit the front approaching the last and survived a mistake at that obstacle to oblige.

    Mullins told Racing TV: “I did say to David Casey ‘enter everything that’s qualified for anything’ and we’re here!

    “Coming back to a handicap, he just found travelling much easier than the pace of Grade One races, so it probably felt like a bit of work for him at home just going at that pace, so that was a big help to get him home.

    “The logistics of bringing 18 horses over are pretty huge and they don’t let me near that side of things, or else none of them might arrive, but my drivers and people in the office are wonderful, so I’m thankful I don’t have any of those headaches.”

    Mullins came closest to grabbing Coral Scottish Champion Hurdle glory when Bialystok was produced for a strong late challenge by Townend, but they had to settle for second best behind Alan King’s Favour And Fortune.

    It was still a nice £21,200 boost, with Nicholls saddling Afadil and Rubaud to finish fourth and sixth respectively, with Dan Skelton’s 11-4 favourite L’Eau Du Sud sandwiched in between.

    Skelton must have had high hopes of hitting the target with Coco Mademoiselle when she surged ahead between the final two flights in the Jordan Electrics Ltd Seafield Trophy Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

    However, Czech Her Out soon emerged from the chasing pack and went on to score an emphatic victory for Lucinda Russell, leaving Coco Mademoiselle in the runner-up spot and Saylavee third for Mullins.

    Macdermott then helped Mullins to take command by getting the better of Surrey Quest in a thrilling finish to the Scottish Grand National, a narrow triumph under the trainer’s nephew Danny which was worth a whopping £112,540 to his connections.

    “It’s fantastic and I’m delighted Danny did it,” said Mullins. “Well done Pat Gallagher for letting me bring the horse here and all my other owners, plus David Casey back at home, who plans all this and puts all the entries in.

    “I’d say we’ve a bit to go yet, there’s still a lot of prize-money to play for, but we’re in pole position and it looks very good.”

    Mullins had lost two of his six runners early on, but the others all did their bit to boost his tally, with Klarc Kent, Ontheropes and Spanish Harlem ending up fourth, fifth and sixth for another £18,580.

    Chosen Witness rammed home the advantage when edging out the Skelton-trained Major Fortune for a 16-1 win in the Let Good Times Roll With Stagecoach Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.

    Quai De Bourbon then justified odds of 8-11 when galloping on strongly to take the Tennent’s Novices’ Hurdle by six lengths.

    There was a minor disappointment for the Mullins team when 11-10 favourite C’est Ta Chance could only manage fourth behind Gordon Elliott’s Jazz De Cotte in the concluding Golf Inn Prestwick Open National Hunt Flat Race but spirits will still have been high on the journey home.

    Paddy Power had taken the decision to pay out on a Mullins title triumph before Friday’s card at Ayr and their spokesman Paul Binfield said: “We thought it was all over yesterday, it probably is now.”

  • White Birch enjoys ‘lovely’ comeback win at the Curragh White Birch enjoys ‘lovely’ comeback win at the Curragh

    Last year’s Derby third White Birch made the perfect start to his four-year-old season with victory in the Tote.ie Alleged Stakes at the Curragh.

    Behind only the esteemed Auguste Rodin and King Of Steel at Epsom, John Murphy’s stable star was out of luck in two subsequent starts.

    Sent on his way here as the 100-30 favourite, he showed he will be a force to be reckoned with this year, making ground from two furlongs out and keeping on strongly over the 10 furlongs of the Group Three affair to hold Maxux by a neck.

    George Murphy, assistant to his father, said: “That was lovely, we’re delighted with that.

    “You’d always be worried a bit about fitness on that sticky ground but he did it lovely in the end, behaved very well and we couldn’t be happier with him. It was a lovely way to start.

    “He did everything right today, he was at the start for a good while and he was very chilled out. He travelled lovely throughout the race and did what he had to do when it mattered. He seems more mature.

    “He’s in the Coronation (Cup) and in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, we’ll have a chat with the owners and see what they want to do from here. We’ll see how he comes out of it first and go from there.

    “He’s clearly fairly good at a mile and a quarter, but obviously going back to a mile and a half is no issue either.”

  • Channon has Royal Ascot ambitions for Metal Merchant Channon has Royal Ascot ambitions for Metal Merchant

    Metal Merchant showed his strength to ignite Royal Ascot dreams when victorious in Newbury’s OLBG Spring Cup.

    Trained by Jack Channon, the son of Make Believe struck twice as a juvenile, finishing his two-year-old season competing for Group Three honours.

    He would add a further victory at Ascot during a busy three-year-old campaign, but wasted no time in getting on the scoresheet on his return to action at four, travelling powerfully before keeping on strongly for jockey David Probert in the closing stages.

    Metal Merchant finished half a length clear of the William Haggas-trained 11-2 favourite Godwinson, with Channon now eyeing up a crack at the Royal Hunt Cup later in the summer for his 12-1 winner.

    Channon said: “He’s a lovely horse who banged his head against the wall in some good races last year. We gelded him over the winter and his work has been exceptional during the spring.

    “We thought he would improve a ton and I was quietly confident he would run a nice race, but you never know in these big-field handicaps – you can be on the wrong side, all sorts could happen. That was a very smart performance.

    “We competed at a good level last year, he ran in the Britannia and the Silver Bowl at Haydock and ran really creditable races.

    “He was a good two-year-old and a decent three-year-old and it wasn’t until we gelded him he’s really flourished, his work has been really nice this spring and he’s been working with the likes of Johan and Certain Lad.

    “He’s going to be a nice horse to go for those big mile handicaps and take Johan’s place, who knows. I’d love to leave him now for the Royal Hunt Cup, but we will have to see how much he goes up (in the ratings) and see.

    “He’s the type of horse who suits these big handicaps as he travels so well and he’s got a fantastic cruising speed. I think when you look at winners of Hunt Cups and Lincolns then you have to have a good cruising speed to hold your position early. Hopefully he can go from strength to strength.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.