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    In Perth Listed events, Willie Mullins has to settle for minor awards. Apple Way won the hurdle
In Perth Listed events, Willie Mullins has to settle for minor awards. Apple Way won the hurdle
In Perth Listed events, Willie Mullins has to settle for minor awards. Apple Way won the hurdle. Source: racingtv.com

In Perth Listed events, Willie Mullins has to settle for minor awards. Apple Way won the hurdle

In the two Listed events on the Perth Festival's first day, Apple Away and Sounds Russian both won big, but Willie Mullins had to settle for minor awards.

Known for his exceptional staying chase abilities, Sounds Russian was forced to miss most of the year due to a knee injury that needed surgery after he was defeated in the Cheltenham Gold Cup the previous year.

The nine-year-old was a 5-1 shot for the British EBF Gold Castle "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle under Brian Hughes after placing fifth in the Rendlesham Hurdle on his comeback at Haydock in February. He knuckled down to defeat the Mullins-trained 8-11 favourite Loughglynn by three lengths.

Ruth Jefferson said: “That was good, he travelled better today and jumped better and Brian said it was like riding a different horse to Haydock. He was the fresh horse in the race, it was only his second run of the season so that probably helped as well, but you couldn’t really be anything other than happy.”

Of his injury, Jefferson added: “We’ve never really had this type of injury before, so we were sort of making it up a bit as we went along. Everyone has done a great job, from the surgeon to the girl who had him in pre-training and when he came back to us it was just a question of whether he’d stand up to it. We haven’t had many bumps in the road, you never quite know but he obviously hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for it which is the main thing. He’ll have a summer break now as there isn’t really a lot for him and he wouldn’t want quick ground anyway. We now know he goes right-handed, which opens up a few options. We might look at the Charlie Hall if the ground is all right and we could look at the Betfair Chase and there is the race at Ascot (1965 Chase) if it was soft enough. I’m sure there will be something for him over fences and that is the plan, but if not we can always go back over hurdles.”

Additionally, Mullins saddled the slight favourite in the Robertson Homes Fair Maid of Perth Mares’ Chase (7–4), but she also took home the silver medal, following only the Grade One-winning hurdler Apple Away.

The seven-year-old horse owned by Lucinda Russell has been competing in excellent novice events over fences since her impressive victory at the Grand National meeting at Aintree last year. She placed most recently fifth in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

With four and a quarter lengths separating them at the line, Instit attempted to make all the running under Paul Townend, but she was caught by 9-4 chance Apple Away and pilot Derek Fox.

Ed Seyfried of owners Old Gold Racing said: “I think she’s just had an unlucky campaign actually, so to get a Listed win over fences under her belt is fantastic. I think we all expected her to continue on the trajectory she was on last season and until this afternoon she hadn’t quite done that, but I think there are genuine reasons for that and I lay the blame mainly on the weather, it just made mapping out a really good campaign for her really difficult.”

Mullins was unlucky in Scotland. Despite the strong odds of Dr Eggman and Figaroc also failing, Mullins did enjoy a winner with his first ever runner at Ludlow.

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