Petit Mouchoir and Bryan Cooper take victory in the Ryanair Hurdle
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By Keith Melrose 2:35PM 29 DEC 2016
Report: Leopardstown, Thursday
Ryanair Hurdle (Grade 1), 2m, 4yo+
PETIT MOUCHOIR had too much for 2-5 favourite Nichols Canyon in the Ryanair Hurdle, making all to deny the favourite a second successive win in the race.
Ridden with plenty of intent by Bryan Cooper, the 6-1 winner raced clear with the favourite but burnt off Nichols Canyon after two out, storming to a seven-length success which brings him into the Champion Hurdle reckoning.
After contesting the lead over the first flight, Ruby Walsh on Nichols Canyon ceded to Cooper, with the rest racing a few lengths further back.
As Walsh closed to challenge, Nichols Canyon got in too tight to the second last, losing much of his momentum and with it his chances of victory. He kept on to fend off Ivanovich Gorbatov for second, but could not lay a glove on the winner.
Trainer Henry De Bromhead said of Petit Mouchoir: “He’s a lovely galloping horse with a huge stride. Bryan thought he’d have won the Fighting Fifth but for falling and he did jump brilliantly today.”
He added: “It’s our first win of the week but the horses have been running well and we’ve won races at Kempton, Limerick and Down Royal over the past few days.”
Petit Mouchoir, who was recording his first Grade 1 win, was slashed for the Stan James Champion Hurdle after his success. He was made a general 10-1 shot, having been 25-1 before the race.
Of his future targets, De Bromhead said: “I’ll have to talk to Michael and Eddie [O’Leary, owners] about plans but the horse has had a light season and the Irish Champion Hurdle [on January 29] could be next.”