Gala Marceau caused a turn up in the Donohue Marquees Spring Juvenile Hurdle when turning the tables on her much-vaunted stablemate Lossiemouth at Leopardstown.
Owned by Kenny Alexander of Honeysuckle fame, Gala Marceau finished seven lengths behind Lossiemouth at Christmas and could be backed at 9-2 while Lossiemouth was sent off the red-hot 1-3 favourite.
However, the Willie Mullins-trained pair, although dominating the finish, did not cross the line in the order expected.
Lossiemouth’s race was lost at the third-last when another stablemate, the rank outsider Jourdefete, owned like Lossiemouth by Rich Ricci, made a mistake leaving Lossiemouth nowhere to go.
Paul Townend had to take his medicine on the market leader, briefly dropping back to last before circling the field on the bend.
It was to Lossiemouth’s credit that she still had a chance heading to the last, but the bird had already flown.
Gala Marceau and Danny Mullins were spring-heeled at it and maintained a two and a half length advantage at the finish. Another Mullins runner, Tekao, was third.
Lossiemouth is now 9-4 from 11-8 for the Triumph while the winner is 4-1 from 10s.
“Paul got into a lot of trouble, but the winner is a good filly and she’s improving all the time,” said Mullins. “Paul thinks he was a little unlucky.
“That (same ownership) was the disappointing part about it. Paul said to me he got done three times.
“I just hope it doesn’t leave its mark that she had such a hard run from the third-last home. She put in a huge effort for a juvenile filly and that might just leave a mark.
“That’s what I’m really worried about and I would have been happier if Paul had maybe just been hands and heels. The writing was on the wall, so what was the point in hitting her.
“He has to have a go to try to win, but to me unless Danny’s made a mistake at the last he wasn’t going to get to that one.”
On the winner he said: “We thought she had every chance coming here today if anything happened to the other one. Lossiemouth had been working well at home, but Gala Marceau probably had more scope for improvement.
“She jumps very well and she’s a good filly.”