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Last Updated: 24/04/12 7:17pm
Sir Des Champs overcomes a bad blunder at the last
Sir Des Champs (2-7 favourite) kept his unbeaten record in a dramatic Grade 1 Growise Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown.
The six-year-old jumped accurately all the way round at the head of affairs under Davy Russell and began to turn the screw on his rivals turning for home.
He was in full command at the last fence but a bad blunder almost shot Russell over his head although the rider was able to recover well as they went on to score by 36 lengths.
That would have been far less but for even more trouble in behind at the last as the pursuing Mossy Joe took a crashing fall and brought down Frisco Depot.
That left Shop DJ (18-1) to claim a fortunate second place.
Mullins said: "Davy did very well to stay on and the horse was lucky enough to stand up.
"He was doing it well before that and we've always thought a bit about him.
"That's his first Grade One so hopefully we can keep him sound and keep him right for next season.
"He's one of the best novice prospects I've ever had, but we didn't campaign him big. We just kept him down the country, but it's worked out nicely."
Champion jockey-elect Russell said: "You are always told to be careful and if he had company he probably wouldn't have done that (made the mistake).
"I had the race in the bag and I didn't want to do the wrong thing by sending him. I thought I'd just go and pop it, but he's just left a leg in it.
"He gives you absolutely no feel - he's so lazy it's unbelievable.
"Willie has done a wonderful job with him and it's nice to have a horse like him to look forward to for next year.
"It's hard to know how much he'll improve."