GBI RACING

Petit Mouchoir makes winning start over fences at Punchestown

Petit Mouchoir takes to fences like a duck to water

Irish Champion Hurdle winner Petit Mouchoir made a pleasing debut over fences in the Coral.ie Bet & Watch Irish And UK Racing Live Beginners Chase at Punchestown.

Henry de Bromhead's front-running grey, who went on to finish third to Buveur D'Air in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, burnt off Brelade between the final two obstacles.

While he got in a little tight to the final fence, he never looked in danger of falling and coasted over the line in the hands of Davy Russell to justify 8-13 favouritism.

Prior to the last he had barely put a foot wrong and looks a smart recruit to the chasing game.

Russell said: "You'd be nervous heading out on him as today was very important he did things right with the future in mind.Henry is a master at improving hurdlers to chasers and he looks to have done it again.

"Having run in a point that's a huge bonus, it gives them such a good grounding. We hadn't done that much schooling, two bits outside, though Henry does plenty himself.He gave him a pop yesterday and he was very good.

"The country is full of high-quality horses and he's one, it's a highly competitive sphere but I'm sure he'll hold his own."

Paddy Power cut the winner to 8-1 market leader for the Arkle Trophy in March.

De Bromhead said: "Davy gave him a super ride and we can breathe a sigh of relief. It's what you hope he would go out and do and he's done that. I'm delighted.

"He'd been schooling really well, until you see it on the track you are always a bit anxious, but he looked great there.

"He's clever, and he could come back here for the Grade Two (Craddockstown Novice Chase on November 19). We'll see what everyone wants to do, but that would look a nice race for him.

"He's always worked really well, but physically he's probably filled out more, and he ran a bit heavier here today."

While Gordon Elliott's Brelade was no match for Petit Mouchoir, the trainer still enjoyed two nice winners on the card.

Jack Kennedy partnered Cracking Smart (4-7 favourite) to victory in the Coral.ie Bet 5 Euros Get 20 Euros In Free Bets Maiden Hurdle, but it was his other winner who generated more interest.

Campeador (11-8 favourite) will be remembered by many for crashing out at the final flight in the Fred Winter of 2016 at Cheltenham, as well as at Fairyhouse on his only outing last season, but he returned from a lengthy absence to win the Coral.ie Free Racehorse Ownership With The Coral Champions Club Rated Hurdle.

Elliott's grey travelled with all his old elan for Barry Geraghty and was a comfortable length-and-three-quarter winner from Wakea.

"He's a nice horse and we'll have to see where we go from here but he has a nice engine," said Elliott.

"We'll see where the lads want to go, but he's going to have to improve a lot to be thinking about going that (Champion Hurdle) way.

"Once he's OK in the morning that's the most important thing and Barry said he could jump a fence."

Geraghty had earlier won on a potentially nice JP McManus recruit for Gavin Cromwell as Espoir D'Allen (11-10 favourite) coasted home in the Coral.ie Best Price Guaranteed On All Irish Races 3-Y-O Hurdle.

"He's a grand little horse. He's not that big, but he jumps brilliant and he was fit and ready for today. Obviously the winners had their penalties and we had a little allowance, but he's done it well," said Cromwell.

"We'll take our time with him and I couldn't see him going to Down Royal (in early November)."

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