Willie Mullins labelled Gala Marceau “a revelation” after the mare provided an Irish winner at the final attempt in Auteil, writes Paul Martin.
The master of Closutton was one of several Irish trainers to send raiders to the French capital and got his reward in Sunday’s Prix Alain du Breil as the four-year-old quickened impressively with Danny Mullins in the saddle.
Beaten into second by Lossiemouth in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, then third when the same victor was successful at Punchestown, this was a notable success for Gala Marceau and one her trainer was delighted with.
“A winner at last! We were getting worried,” Mullins told Sky Sports Racing.
“This mare is a revelation, she’s been improving all season. I said to Danny ‘just settle her and have her coming home’.
“It took about three-quarters of a mile to get her settled and once she did, he was just counting down the furlongs.
“She took over after the second last and the race was over at that stage. It’s a big improvement for her and I think it’s a notable scalp as there was a lot of confidence about Losange Bleu. We are very pleased.”
Mullins’ second runner in the race, Zarak The Brave, finished third while Andrew McNamara’s Donohue Marquees Juvenile Hurdle winner Enjoy The Dream was down the field in seventh.
“Zarak didn’t jump well enough in the first mile, he has a lot to learn,” Mullins added.
“He doesn’t have the experience and I imagine the next day Paul [Townend] will try and stay a bit closer.”
Mullins said he had “no excuses” for any of his other horses across the weekend, admitting “they all ran well enough, they just weren’t good enough on the day.
Two of them, Franco De Port and Carefully Selected, were looking to become the first Irish-trained winner of the Grand Steeple-Chase du Paris since 1919 but were unsuccessful, with the latter pulled up. Emmet Mullins’ 2022 Grand National hero Noble Yeats
was the best of the Irish trio in seventh.
Saturday’s Racing TV Grande Course de Haies d'Auteuil, meanwhile, saw Willie Mullins’ Klassical Dream take third, with Hewick providing another welcome windfall for John ‘Shark’ Hanlon in fourth as the gallant raider continued his fine global exploits.