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Casa No Mento a famous Punchestown winner for Twiston-Davies

Casa No Mento a famous Punchestown winner for Twiston-Davies
Casa No Mento a famous Punchestown winner for Twiston-Davies

There was a raiding success for Nigel and Sam Twiston-Davies at the Punchestown Festival as Casa No Mento toughed it out to land a blow in the Close Brothers Mares Novice Hurdle.

The only horse able to claim Casa No Mento’s scalp this season is Harry Derham’s Queens Gamble and she was sent off a 4-1 chance for this Listed event as connections looked to join fellow British trainer Tom Lacey on the week’s scoresheet.

Leading the field into the home straight she pulled out all the stops to hold off Willie Mullins’ Got Glory, finding extra when it mattered to strike by a length and three-quarters.

“She’s exceptional. She is the only horse I’ve ever seen that can work with I Like To Move It,” said Willy Twiston-Davies, who is assistant to his father.

“We got dropped 2lb after getting beat by Queens Gamble and we were a bit disappointed, but Sam said she wasn’t herself. She’s three from four over hurdles and is the fastest filly we’ve ever had.

“I rang Patrick Mullins on Thursday when I was in Huntingdon and said ‘have you got the entries for Punchestown as I can’t see our filly in’. He sent me a screenshot and said ‘don’t’ worry she’s in there’.

“I asked him if it was worth bringing her over and he said she had every chance so a bit of the credit must go to him!”

Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies was smiling at Punchestown
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies was smiling at Punchestown (Mike Egerton/PA)

He went on: “We’ve always thought she’s very good and she proved that today. I think she’ll be better again on faster ground.

“We’ll probably run her on the Flat now, she’s too fast – that’s her talent. Sam said whatever he wanted to do with her she was there, she’s a very pacy mare.

“It’s quite fun coming over here and beating the Irish. We had a second at Fairyhouse and dad said to me ‘what are you doing running another one at Punchestown?’.

“We have to come over a give it a go. Willie had five in, but you have to try to beat him. She’s a good mare and she deserves to be there. She’s no Lossiemouth, but she’s very good in her own right and we’ll enjoy today.”

Veteran campaigner Singing Banjo came to the fore to take the Mongey Communications La Touche Cup Cross Country Chase for the second time.

Barry Walsh and Singing Banjo
Barry Walsh and Singing Banjo (Brian Lawless/PA)

The 14-year-old is a veritable specialist around the banks course, having won the race in 2021 as part of a famous double that also included the Ladies Perpetual Cup.

His experience served him well and after locking horns with Coko Beach and Three By Two he stayed on best of all triumph by three-quarters of a length.

“He just stays galloping all day, he needs a trip,” said Barry John Walsh, for was enjoying his first as a trainer as well as being the man in the saddle.

“He got hampered a little bit at the old double, it wasn’t ideal but he was hard and finished out strong.

“He loves the banks and we aim him for these races the whole time. The ground was just against us all season, he wants good ground.

“He won on firm here when taking the Ladies Cup and La Touche in one week. I was delighted to see it drying a bit here yesterday.

“He’s lightly-raced and we’ll see how he comes out of this. He’s declared for Saturday and we’ll see tomorrow how he is.

“We’d be hoping to get another season out of him for the cross-country, maybe at Cheltenham if the ground comes up good.”

The Listed Frontline Security Handicap Chase went the way of Noel Meade’s Pinkerton after a photo finish was required to split the first two over the line.

The winner went off at 15-2 under Sam Ewing and came out on top in a field of 17, prevailing by a short head just over a week after scoring at Tipperary.

“He came out of last week’s race great. I was a disappointed he didn’t win a bit easier there as it was a very ordinary contest, he struggled a bit and was maybe in front a bit long,” said Meade.

“Today when he went to the front he wandered a bit going to the last.

“It’s great for the owners to win here, he’s been a super little horse for them.

“He’s tough and the jockey is very good, he’s very strong.

“He mightn’t go on real quick ground, he wants an ease, but we’ll carry on for the moment and see how we go.”

Maxxum scoots clear to bag a valuable prize
Maxxum scoots clear to bag a valuable prize (Brian Lawless/PA)

Maxxum supplemented his Listed handicap victory at Leopardstown earlier in the season and plundered more valuable prize-money in the Conway Piling Handicap Hurdle.

He was sent off 28-1 in the hands of conditional Carl Miller when scoring at the Dublin Racing Festival and it was a case of history repeated as he obliged under the same jockey and same odds in Kildare.

Carl seems to only win 100 grand handicaps!” said winning trainer Gordon Elliott.

“He’s a great fella, he’s working full-time in the yard and he deserves every bit of success he’s getting.

“He doesn’t do anything wrong and keeps it very simple.

“He was running a great race the last day in Fairyhouse and took a false step after the second-last and fell. We came here fresh today, took a chance, and it worked out great.”

Elliott was also in the winner’s enclosure after the concluding JP & M Doyle (C & G) INH Flat Race as Wingmen showed a great attitude to win at odds of 18-1.

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