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Royal Rendezvous gives Danny Mullins his first winner since fracturing vertebrae

Galway Plate hero follows up with hard-fought success in Gowran Grade 2.

Royal Rendezvous with winning connections after his victory in the PWC Champion Chase at Gowran.
Royal Rendezvous with winning connections after his victory in the PWC Champion Chase at Gowran.
Image: PA

ROYAL RENDEZVOUS BATTLED to a hard-fought victory in the Grade Two PWC Champion Chase at Gowran Park.

Willie Mullins’ nine-year-old was last seen winning the Galway Plate in July, and followed up that success as he and Danny Mullins just denied Gordon Elliott’s Hardline by half a length.

The jockey returned from an injury-enforced lay-off only on Friday, and this victory was therefore his first since fracturing several vertebrae in a heavy fall three months ago.

The race was intended to be the scene of Henry De Bromhead’s Champion Chase winner Put The Kettle On’s seasonal comeback, but the mare was declared a late non-runner because of unsuitable going – leaving Royal Rendezvous as the 10-11 favourite.

The winning jockey said: “He’s a good tough horse, and I’ve been lucky enough to win on him a couple of times before.

“Once I jumped the second last I was gaining on Jack (Kennedy, on Hardline) but not quite quick enough to go through on the inside, so that’s why I switched.

“I was always happy that he was going to get there.

“He has his own way of jumping. But he jumps forward and fast, which is what you need in a racehorse – it’s not a showjumping contest.”

De Bromhead explained the reasons for Put The Kettle On’s absence.

“The ground was a bit better than ideal for her, and we thought it was the safer thing to do.

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“It’s the owners’ local track, and they always wanted to run her here.

“She will probably go back again for the Shloer Chase (at Cheltenham) in November.”

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