Willie Mullins identifies his next Champion Hurdle target after horse breaks 23-year spell to win £143,000 | The Sun

FORTUNE favoured the brave in the Galway Hurdle and Willie Mullins hopes the Champion Hurdle awaits Zarak The Brave.

He lived up to his name by fending off a determined pair of older horses in Galway's Thursday feature despite looking vulnerable over the last.

Jesse Evans and My Mate Mozzie looked set to sweep on by but Paul Townend showed just why Mullins was so confident in him being the ideal successor to the legendary Ruby Walsh.

It was hard luck stories in behind, as Jesse Evans placed in his third successive running, while My Mate Mozzie came agonisingly close to a famous Galway double after Ash Tree Meadow dominated the Plate for the same owners.

In winning, Zarak The Brave became the first successful four-year-old since Perugino Diamond in 2000.

That signalled to Mullins that he has a classy operator on his hands and he's aiming for the top with him.

Mullins told Racing Post: "That's a class performance – you’ve got to look at him now as a Champion Hurdle contender.

"It's something for a four-year-old to win the race, that says something of how tough the horse is.

"I thought he was beaten, and it's tough on Noel [Meade]. I thought Jesse Evans had come to beat him and Paul said to me that he thought he was beaten.

"When he gave him a smack and changed his whip, the horse got down and galloped again, so that shows how brave he is."

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Zarak The Brave is a best price of 25-1 for next year's Champion Hurdle.

The market is headed by superstar Constitution Hill at a general 4-6, while Imapire Et Passe is at 7-2 and State Man sits at 6-1.


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