Sharjah (11/2) emulated equine legends like Istabraq and Hurricane Fly when landing a sensational hat-trick in the Grade One Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown today for the father and son combination of Willie and Patrick Mullins.
Sharjah continued his love affair with Leopardstown when pouncing late under the younger Mullins with the champion amateur rider declaring that the seven-year-old “is like Santa as he rocks up every year at Christmas”.
It was another epic afternoon for Willie Mullins with the champion trainer also landing the other Grade One of the day – the Neville Hotels Novice Chase – when Monkfish (1/2 favourite) got the better of an epic clash with the Paul Nolan-trained Latest Exhibition (4/1).
Monkfish finished three lengths to the good under Paul Townend to cement his place at the head of the RSA Chase market at next year’s Cheltenham Festival while the champion jockey also took the other graded prize on offer with Concertista (4/5 favourite) delivering another scintillating performance.
Concertista stalked Minella Melody (17/2) at the last before assuming control by six and a half lengths in the Grade Three Advent Insurance Irish EBF Mares Hurdle with Townend’s victory aboard Statler (13/8 favourite) in the Pigsback.com Maiden Hurdle completing a 55/1 four-timer for the all-conquering Mullins.
And that’s all she wrote after a solid four days of racing in Leopardstown.
A strange one with no crowds, no glitz or glam, no best dressed, but no shortage of action from the course to make it another memorable year.