Paul Townend used all his Cheltenham knowhow to guide the impressive Lossiemouth to JCB Triumph Hurdle glory, writes Paul Martin.
The talented four-year-old filly was beaten by stablemate Gala Marceau at last month’s Dublin Racing Festival and did not make life easy for Townend at times here.
But she had more than enough to turn the tables with a superb display of jumping to come home by just over two lengths and land trainer Willie Mullins his fifth win of the week.
“She was very tough on him [Townend] at the top of the hill, they just slowed it down and she just jumped on the bridle,” Mullins said.
“The mare pulled Paul into the race and I could see him thinking ‘I better not go on but I better not stop and disappoint her’.
“You can’t play all your cards at that time so it was very difficult but he played it well.
“She’s a really good mare with a great temperament. If you did that to Gala Marceau or Blood Destiny, they maybe wouldn’t recover. Her temperament will stand her in good stead.”
Lossiemouth provided Townend with his fourth win of the week as he looks to seal his status as the Festival’s leading jockey for the third time in four years.
“It wasn’t ideal at that the top of the hill but I wasn’t fighting her too much,” Townend said.
“She was throwing her head around a bit and just wanted to get on with it.
“I didn’t question her stamina so I just wanted to keep her at an even gallop. I thought she was even having a look around up the straight.
“She’s very good. She’s very professional and thankfully made up for the mishap in Dublin.”
Lossiemouth led home a 1-2-3-4 for Mullins in this contest between juvenile four-year-olds, providing evidence that his dominance over this week will not be fading any time soon.
And the all-conquering Constitution Hill could be in his sights next year as he plots the newly-crowned Triumph Hurdle winner’s next steps.
“People are starting to think of her as a Champion Hurdler,” Mullins said.
“Constitution Hill will be hard to beat but she [Lossiemouth] will only be five next year. We might go for the Mares’ Hurdle but not many five-year-old mares go in the Champion Hurdle and if we can claim seven pounds, you never know.”
The Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, meanwhile, saw Noel Meade's 150-1 shot Affordable Fury produce an admirable display to stay on for second behind winner Stay Away Fay.