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Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 4°C
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# Punch perfect
Intranet delivers on Punchestown debut for Willie Mullins
Smart recruit for McManus and Mullins.

INTRANET MADE A winning debut for JP McManus and Willie Mullins when battling back to beat Belle The Lioness at Punchestown.

Sent off the 11-8 favourite in the second division of the William Hill Play Responsibly Maiden Hurdle, Mark Walsh’s mount was headed between the last two flights by Henry de Bromhead’s Belle The Lioness, but ended up pulling away to win by a comfortable two and a half lengths.

He was given a 33-1 quote for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle by Paddy Power.

“He was very professional and Mark said he jumped great. He said he needed a good leap at the last and that was a big help,” said Frank Berry, the owner’s racing manager.

“You’d be very pleased with him. We’ll see what Willie wants to do with him down the road.

“He’ll learn a little bit from today as well, as it was his first run for a long time. He handles that ground and we couldn’t be happier with him.”

It was the first leg of a double for Mullins who has took the William Hill Epic Value Hurdle with 5-4 favourite Tax For Max.

His task was made easier by Gordon Elliott’s Hiaou taking an early hold and then almost running out before not surprisingly fading in the straight.

Paul Townend was aboard the winner and said: “That was a good find. His best form is actually around here.

“The tongue-tie probably helped him and it’s not winter ground or anything out there, he’s not big.

“He deserved that because he runs well, but he’s just been frustrating probably.

“He’s relaxed a lot compared to what he was like. I remember the first day I rode him in Fairyhouse, it was an experience for both of us. He’s settled down a bit and he even ran in a rubber bit today with nothing on him. From trying to settle him, he maybe got too settled.”

There was a revised outcome to the first division of Intranet’s race.

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Peter Fahey’s The Big Doyen crossed the line a short head in front of Nucky Johnson but placings were revised when the stewards adjudged The Big Doyen guilty of causing interference close home.

Noel Meade and Bryan Cooper were the beneficiaries.

De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore were on the mark in the opening William Hill Ireland Rated Novice Chase with Marvel De Cerisy, a faller behind Impervious last time out.

“We’re delighted with that. We wanted to see if a step up in trip would suit him, which it obviously did,” said De Bromhead.

“He was good, obviously the race fell apart a bit but we were still happy to see him come out and win. I’m delighted for Caolan (Woods, owner).

“It’s nice to see him come back to form. We’ll look at our options now and see what’s coming up.”

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Press Association

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