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    Il Etait Temps won yet another prestigious award
Il Etait Temps won yet another prestigious award
Il Etait Temps won yet another prestigious award. Source: racingfactors.com

Il Etait Temps won yet another prestigious award

Il Etait Temps won the Barberstown Castle Novice Chase at Punchestown, earning them yet another top-level award.

The six-year-old entered the race having had a great season, winning the Irish Arkle, placing third in the actual Arkle, and winning the Manifesto Chase at Aintree the previous time around.

Even so, when the two met in the Arkle at Cheltenham in March, his stablemate Gaelic Warrior gained the status as the first horse home, making him an outsider to win again at Grade One level.

The four challengers moved closely together in a small field before outsider Mount Frisco withdrew, leaving three geldings trained by Willie Mullins to fight it out.

The team that performed the best, Il Etait Temps 97-2, won by a margin of two and a quarter lengths under Danny Mullins.

“He’s an extraordinary horse, that’s his third Grade One this year,” said the Closutton trainer. “He doesn’t look like a big steeplechaser, but he’s got an engine and he jumps well. He’s just maturing and learning all the time. He’s getting a lot easier to ride. He has a good and a tongue-tie and that’s to keep the revs low on him. It’s working and we’ll keep them on him for the time being anyway. I’d imagine he’ll stay at the two-mile division until we think that he’s too slow, possibly on ground that he likes better. He never gives up. He’s settling now and more mature and concentrating his energy at the second half of the race. He’s a horse that I won’t mind going up on a trip with and he could easily slot into being a Ryanair horse.”

Of the runner-up, Mullins added: “I think Gaelic Warrior probably didn’t like the ground and it might just be drying up too much for him. He might be more of a winter horse. When he won here last year Paul (Townend) thought he didn’t move as well on it even though he won. I didn’t think he was as flashy as jumping. He’s an extravagant jumper and he wasn’t that at all today.”

The result was a record 35th Grade One of the season for the all-conquering Mullins, who added: “We’ve an incredible team of owners and staff and the horses come if you have both of those.”

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