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    Largy Hill smoothly transitions to a higher class in the Grade 3 challenge
Largy Hill smoothly transitions to a higher class in the Grade 3 challenge
Image courtesy of Irish Racing

Largy Hill smoothly transitions to a higher class in the Grade 3 challenge

Largy Hill showcased his prowess over a three-mile distance, setting the stage for a leap in class at the Grade 3 BoyleSports Michael Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle in Thurles.

Under the guidance of jockey Paul Townend, he surged forward towards the penultimate flight in this 2m4f race, valued at €30,000. The frontrunner intensified the challenge for his competitors between the final two flights. Despite the odds-on favourite Staffordshire Knot attempting to close the gap, he faltered at the last hurdle, displaying some novice-like jumps.

Meanwhile, Largy Hill (10/3) excelled in the final stretch, maintaining a steady pace to secure victory comfortably by four lengths over Staffordshire Knot (8/11f). In his previous outing, he triumphed in a lengthy maiden hurdle at Cork in January, whereas Staffordshire Knot fetched €510,000 at a recent auction at Tattersalls Ireland.

Trainer Willie Mullins commended Largy Hill's flawless performance, noting the horse's adept jumping skills, reminiscent of his past as a point-to-pointer. In contrast, stablemate Stoke The Fire (who clinched third place) displayed signs of inexperience, while What Path (fourth) tended to veer slightly left during jumps.

Mullins expressed satisfaction with Stoke The Fire's progress, anticipating significant improvement. He described the winner as a promising prospect for steeplechasing and hinted at bypassing Cheltenham in favour of a future outing at Fairyhouse.

Bookmaker Paddy Power adjusted Largy Hill's odds to 12/1 from 16/1 for the Albert Bartlett, offering non-runner refunds.

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