Burning Victory set up a shot at Cheltenham Festival’s Mares Hurdle after winning her first race over jumps since the 2020 Triumph Hurdle when making all the running in the Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown.
Willie Mullins’ six-year-old took advantage of Goshen’s final flight mishap at the Cheltenham Festival a couple of years ago but she has struggled over hurdles since then.
She had been over to France a couple of times to win on the Flat and finished second in the Cesarewitch in the interim, but she was cut to 8/1 (Sky Bet) for the Close Brother Mares’ Hurdle next month after this success.
- Willie Mullins stable tour: Galopin’s Cheltenham options open
- Mullins expresses form fears for Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo
Paul Townend made sure there was no hiding place in the testing ground and set off at a fair lick, soon spreading the field out.
Only Gordon Elliott’s Queens Brook could keep tabs on Burning Victory, but even that rival appeared to have been dropped at the second last, with Townend’s mount nicely clear.
However, despite jumping the last with seemingly plenty left in the tank, the leader’s stride began to shorten allowing Queens Brook to close in, eventually being beaten a length-and-a-half by the 1/2 favourite.
It was a seventh win in the race for Mullins since 2014.
“I was very happy with her jumping, I think it’s the first time she’s ever jumped without making a mistake, so the cheekpieces were a big help to her,” said Mullins.
“She still jumped a little tall. I think she needed the race, especially the way she finished but she did go a fast gallop and was probably tying up a little bit at the end.
“I’d imagine she’ll go for the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, that’s the plan.”