The big market mover for the Cheltenham Festival over the weekend was that of the Willie Mullins-trained Getabird who, pardon the pun, flew home in the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown on Saturday afternoon. The two mile contest has been won in the past by two Mullins inmates who have gone on to be superstars in the shape of Vautour and Douvan and few would bet against the son of Getaway joining that illustrious company following the six-year-old’s demolition of market rival Mengli Khan in the hands of Patrick Mullins.
The even money favourite provided owner Rich Ricci with a welcome change of fortune following a dismal few days over the Christmas period, particularly the defeat of Faugheen in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown. Sent straight into the lead the gelding was joined by Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle winner Mengli Khan at the penultimate flight but once his rider asked his mount to quicken the pair settled the issue in a few strides, coming home by a long-looking nine lengths. Bookmakers were quick to promote Getabird to the head of the betting for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle with the 4-1 on offer with Betfair Sportsbook and Boylesports the best available.
Mullins also took the Grade 3 Total Event Rental Novice Chase on the card with Invitation Only who put in a convincing round of jumping and galloping to earn a top quote of 10-1 with several firms including Ladbrokes, Betfred and Betvictor for the JLT Novices Chase at the festival. The seven-year-old’s two and a half length victory over Koshari in the 2m 4f contest impressed his rider David Mullins, who said: “ He’s got buckets of scope and is a real galloping jumper. I was very impressed with him, he really quickened up off the bend. I thought there was plenty left at the line. He’s definitely one to look forward to.” The JLT ante-post market is currently headed by Willoughby Court at a best price 5-1 with William Hill, Betbright and Betvictor.