On Friday at Thurles Ard Abhainn kicked of another fruitful weekend for Cheltenham sales graduates when forging clear to win the Listed Boreen Belle Mares Novice Hurdle on the card for Gordon Elliott and Mrs Maura Gittins. The daughter of Jeremy was pushed clear after the last to score by 3 lengths under Davy Russell and her next run is likely to be the Mares Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. She was sold at last year’s Cheltenham Festival Sale by Bernie Murphy for £80,000 after winning her Maiden point-to-point at the first time of asking.
Mossy Fen stayed on strongly after the last to win the Grade 2 Leamington Novices’ Hurdle at Warwick on Saturday for Nigel Twiston-Davies and owners Carl Hinchy and Mark Scott. A date at the Cheltenham Festival now awaits the progressive son of Milan who was purchased for £60,000 at last year’s April Sale from Donnchadh Doyle’s Monbeg Stables after winning his four-year-old Maiden point-to-point.
At Punchestown on Sunday graduates took the honours in both of the Graded races on the card.
First up was Carefully Selected who made all in the hands of Paul Townend to record a facile success in the Grade 3 Killiney Novice Chase for Willie Mullins and Miss M A Masterson. The performance propelled him to the head of the market for the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival after his trainer nominated the race as his likely target. The son of Well Chosen was purchased by Harold Kirk for £100,000 at the 2017 May Sale after winning his Maiden point-to-point for Ted Walsh.
Andy Dufresne was made to work hard but got on top close home to take the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle for the Gordon Elliott yard and owner J P McManus. The son of Doyen won his sole start between the flags for Camilla Sharples before being purchased for £330,000 at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival Sale.
Entries are currently being selected for the Cheltenham January Sale which will take place after racing on Festival Trials day on the 25th of this month in the Owners & Trainers Marquee.