Teahupoo (Masked Marvel) wins the Grade II John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park for Gordon Elliott and owners Robcour. The six-year-old cruised to an impressive 15-length success on his first ever go at three miles to spark an industry-wide plunge of his Cheltenham Festival odds.
Davy Russell always looked to be travelling menacingly in fifth on the winner throughout the contest and picked off his rivals one by one coming to the fourth-last. He then took it up before two out and sprinted away in impressive fashion, confirming matters with a soaring leap at the last as he put 15 lengths between himself and former Supreme winner Summerville Boy.
Teahupoo was giving away 9lb to the field here courtesy of his Grade 1 success (and defeat of Honeysuckle) in the Hatton’s Grace back in December. His best performances in his career so far seems to have come on soft ground, but Elliott feels it was the trip rather than the ground that was the cause of some below-par efforts last season, including when finishing last of ten in the Champion Hurdle.
Elliott said: “He was good and is a good horse. He is going the right way and the plan is to go straight to Cheltenham for the Stayers’ Hurdle.
“It was two miles in Cheltenham last year and I’d say this distance is the key to him – over two miles the gun is to your head the whole time. I know he was well beaten in Punchestown after that, but he wasn’t actually beaten that far.
“At the moment we have no worries ground-wise, although it (Stayers Hurdle) is an open race too.
“Davy (Russell) said he panicked and got there a bit soon, as he is so laid-back early but when he gave a squeeze, he leapt back on the bridle. You’d love the way he quickened from the second-last to the line.”
Teahupoo has been installed as the new favourite for The Stayers Hurdle at The Cheltenham Festival and all roads seem to lead straight there after this display of dominance.
Teahupoo was purchased in conjunction with fellow agent Nicolas Bertran de Balanda on behalf of connections.