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Dublin: 4 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019
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Marty jumping for joy, McCoy begins life out of the saddle and Mullins off to a flyer at Punchestown

Douvan, Felix Yonger and Valseur Lido were the first Grade One winners on the opening day of this year’s festival.

Updated at 19.30

Tony McCoy with his wife Chanelle Tony McCoy with his wife Chanelle. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

HE MAY HAVE hung up the boots but Tony McCoy was an interested spectator on the first day of the Punchestown Festival.

After bidding farewell to life in the saddle at Sandown over the weekend, the 20-time champion jockey paid a visit to the County Kildare racecourse with his wife Chanelle.

As well as Dublin footballers Bernard Brogan and Paul Flynn, Marty Morrissey was in attendance and the sports commentator looked particularly happy alongside fellow RTÉ employee Miriam O’Callaghan.

Miriam O'Callaghan and Marty Morrissey RTÉ's Marty Morrissey and Miriam O'Callaghan. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Willie Mullins got the week off to a predictably-impressive start as 1/6 favourite Douvan was victorious in the Grade 1 Herald Champion Novice Hurdle. Sizing John (5/1) finished runner-up, with 25/1-shot Blair Perrone claiming third.

He could be anything,” said Mullins. ”He is more efficient jumping a hurdle that Faugheen ever was or is. I can’t wait to get him over a fence. We will have to talk now and see what the owners want to do.

“On the ground I felt he was as good as at Cheltenham. He handled it very well and watching him hurdle at some of them he just bends his legs and lands on the other side. He is as good as we have ever had.”

Enda Kenny with Kirsty Farrell and Rosanna Davison Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Kirsty Farrell and Rosanna Davison. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Mullins and nephew Danny then claimed a win in the Boylesports Champion Chase as Felix Yonger (5/1) pipped Baily Green (40/1) to the line, while Valseur Lido (15/2) took the Growise Champion Novice Chase.

Douvan ridden by Ruby Walsh clears the last fence on the way to winning Douvan and Ruby Walsh win the Heraldy Champion Novice Hurdle. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Today’s results:

3:40 Kildare Hunt Club Fr Sean Breen Memorial Chase

1. Wish Ye Didnt 8/13F
2. Enniskillen 14/1
3. Oscar Day 25/1

4:20 Herald Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1)

1. Douvan 1/6F
2. Sizing John 5/1
3. Blair Perrone 25/1

4:55 Killashee Handicap Hurdle

1. Some Article 10/1
2. Macnicholson 20/1
3. The Game Changer 12/1
4 Jebril 33/1

5:30 BoyleSports Champion Chase (Grade 1)

1. Felix Yonger 5/1
2. Baily Green 40/1
3. Hidden Cyclone 7/2

6:05 Goffs Land Rover Bumper INH Flat Race

1. Petit Mouchoir 4/1J
2. Policy Breach 25/1
3. Tesseract 20/1

6:40 Growise Champion Novice Chase (Grade 1)

1. Valseur Lido 15/2
2. Wounded Warrior 9/1
3. Apache Stronghold 5/1

7:15 JLT INH Flat Race

1. Timing’Severything 33/1
2. Coeur Joyeux 5/2F
3. Weyburn 33/1

Originally published at 17.58

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Ben Blake

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