Willie Mullins’ horse, which finished last in just races, wins after nearly four years of absence

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Willie Mullins trained Braganza to win the Thurles races following a 1,439-day break. Betfair gave the mare quotes at 20-1 for the 2022 Cheltenham Festival

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Willie Mullins completed a spectacular piece of training to enable one of his horses to defy an absence of almost four years.

Braganza had not run in 1,439 days before winning Thursday’s BetVictor Irish EBF Mares Maiden Hurdle on Thurles.

Getting her in top shape was not the only feat that she finished last of five runners on her only previous race.

It happened at Chelmsford for Ed Dunlop in December 2017 – and the six-year-old has since had a foal.

With his debut over obstacles, Braganza tracked the leaders and made stylish progress three obstacles from home.

Under Sean O’Keeffe, the 10-1 shot overcame a sluggish jump on the final flight to make do with six lengths on the inlet.

Owner Sharon Noonan said the show was extra special as the € 6,000 Braganza purchase, part of a treble for Mullins, had spent so much time in her stables.

“It was absolutely amazing because it’s been a long story, she has not run that long,” she told Racing TV.

“We wanted to get into racing in a small way, so a friend of ours Eamon Phelan said this filly was going to be for sale in Goffs.

“Now she was a foal at the time, so we bought her without knowing what was going to happen ahead. But he liked her, we liked her, and we bought her up there three years ago.

“She had a filly, so we have a one-year-old (by the Champs Elysees) out of her. (We) put her in training, as people thought we were crazy, because you never do, but Eamon saw absolute potential in her .

“He had her at home in the yard and he worked a little with her. He said she was a great mare, she would give everything and had the abilities. So we said we would go and here we are today.”

The performance prompted Betfair to price Braganza 20-1 for Mares ‘Novices’ Hurdle at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.

Braganza (left) finished last at Chelmsford and she is now a winner over obstacles

“I have to say I was very nervous about coming (here) because she actually means a lot to us because we’ve had her for three years, she’s got the foal,” Noonan added.

“She’s not your average horse that you buy, and you put her in training and don’t see her because we’ve had her at home.

“We have a sense of belonging to her, she’s in our heart, and we want her to do well, so today was really, really great.”

Noonan said Mullins, in the UK ahead of saddled Ladbrokes Trophy favorite Ontheropes, would be “surprised” by Braganza’s show for the first time.

The stable will also be represented by Brahma Bull, with a top weight of 11. 12lb and Annamix in Saturday’s feature race at Newbury.

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Henry de Bromhead, successful in Thurles with Clifton Warrior inBetVictor Maiden Hurdle passes key challenger Eklat De Rire over.

Together with Rachael Blackmore, they hope to enjoy another great payday a week after A Plus Tard’s impressive Betfair Chase triumph.

“Novices from the second season seem to have a good record in the race, and hopefully he fits that profile,” De Bromhead said.

“He had two very good races over fences last year; he was very impressive in his novice hunt at Naas and we thought he was doing well at Cheltenham. He is a horse we have high hopes for. ”

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