Ferny Hollow made a triumphant return from over a year on the sidelines on his chasing debut at Punchestown.
The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old had claimed a couple of notable scalps on his two most recent starts – beating esteemed stablemate Appreciate It in the 2020 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and Bob Olinger on his first start over hurdles at Gowran Park last year.
Ferny Hollow (8-15 favourite) missed the remainder of last season through injury, but appears to have retained all his ability judged on his comeback in the BetVictor Beginners Chase.
Jumping well at the head of affairs under the trainer’s son Patrick Mullins, the Westerner gelding was challenged and briefly passed by Coeur Sublime between the final two fences.
But Ferny Hollow wrestled back the lead approaching the last and a bold leap sealed his victory, with four lengths separating him and Coeur Sublime at the line.
Willie and Patrick Mullins and owners Cheveley Park Stud were completing a quick-fire double following the Grade One success of Allaho in the preceding John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase.
“For a horse with such little experience I was very impressed with him,” said Mullins senior.
“He was very lazy over the first few fences, very careful. Patrick said once he had to get down to race over the last four he was much better, he was like a professional.
“We’ll look for a nice novice chase with him. We’ll see how he comes out of that before we make a plan for his next run.”