14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Un Atout completes Russell's dayHeadlines
Davy Russell

Un Atout looked a star of the future as he demolished the opposition in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Irish Racing Writers Novice Hurdle at Naas to complete a four-timer from four rides for Davy Russell.

Willie Mullins' five-year-old was sent off the 2-7 favourite on the back of two convincing victories, in a bumper and a maiden hurdle, and was settled in second spot for most of the contest behind the front-running Rory O'Moore.

Russell allowed him to coast into the lead after the third-last and he sauntered clear to win by 19 lengths, with the jockey sitting motionless throughout.

Mullins said: "He jumped well and he was very strong in the ground. He stayed, but he has plenty of gears too. I'm very happy with everything he did today.

"He'll be entered up in all the races. He's in the Deloitte. He'll hardly run before that and I don't know if I want him to run in that either. I have no wish to step him up in trip just yet."

Bookmakers were impressed, with Betfred going 8-1 from 16s for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and Paddy Power going 10-1 from 14s.

Mullins quickly followed up when the Ruby Walsh-ridden Tennis Cap (3-1 favourite) led all the way in the BESS Ball 16th Of February Handicap Hurdle, putting the race to bed between the final two flights to beat Beneficial Spirit by five and a half lengths.

The trainer said: "I don't know whether we got it right or the horse is coming to himself. We decided to ride him more positively and it seemed to work.

"He's been a bit exasperating. He keeps promising, but today is the first time he's delivered. At least today he showed on the track what he does at home.

"We took a chance running him here rather than the Boylesports Hurdle. I didn't think he'd get in, but he'll get in now. It's not normally something I'd do, but I might have a look at it as it's a big prize."

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