Willie Mullins landed his first Boyne Hurdle at Navan on Sunday afternoon, not with his stable’s first string Mikael D’Haguenet, but rather it was Mourad who took the spoils under Paul Townend.
Sent off the 3/1 second favourite, Mourad led for most of the 3m trip and jumped with fluency and accuracy in the Grade 2 contest, which is seen as Ireland’s most important trial for the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival.
Mourad dominated the rest of the field with his jumping and coming into the straight he had every horse in trouble. Mikael D’Haguenet tried to raise an effort but ran on at the one pace to finish a distant second to his stable mate.
Speaking after the race Willie Mullins said “I was disappointed with Mourad’s run at Cheltenham and we decided to change tactics and make the running here. It took him a few hurdles to get the hang of it, and this makes the decision of travelling [to Cheltenham] a bit easier.
“Mikael D’Haguenet was disappointing so I’ll have to think about that [travelling] now, but the other fellow found his form.”