Burning Victory put up a shot at the Mares Hurdle of the Cheltenham Festival after winning their first race on jumps since the 2020 Triumph Hurdle in all races of the Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown.
Willie Mullins’ six-year-old daughter took advantage of Goshen’s last flying accident at the Cheltenham Festival a few years ago, but has struggled with odds since then.
She had been to France several times to win on the flat and finished second in the Cesarewitch in the meantime, but was downgraded to 8/1 (Sky Bet) for the Close Brother Mares’ Hurdle the following month after that success.
Paul Townend made sure there was no hiding place in the proving ground and got off to a good start, quickly expanding the pitch.
Only Gordon Elliott’s Queens Brook could keep an eye on Burning Victory, but even that rival seemed to have been dropped at penultimate, with Townend’s mount well clear.
However, despite jumping last with seemingly plenty left in the tank, the leader’s stride began to shorten allowing Queens Brook to close in, eventually being beaten by a length and a half by the 1/2 favorite.
It was a seventh race win for Mullins since 2014.
“I was very happy with her jump, I think it’s the first time she’s jumped without making mistakes, so the cheekbones were a big help to her,” Mullins said.
“She still jumped a bit high. I think she needed the race, especially the way she finished, but she galloped fast and probably came to a standstill a bit at the end.
“I imagine she will go for the Mares’ Hurdle in Cheltenham, that’s the plan.”