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Limestone Lad Hurdle: Echoes In Rain too good in Naas feature; Bob Olinger disappoints again

Echoes In Rain had no issue putting away stablemate Cash Back in an easy victory at Naas; Bob Olinger was a big disappointment for the Henry De Bromhead team; she is now 5/1 for the Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival

Echoes In Rain and Patrick Mullins after winning the eCOMM Merchant Solutions Champion Novice Hurdle during day one of the Punchestown Festival at Punchestown Racecourse in County Kildare, Ireland. Issue date: Tuesday April 27, 2021.
Image: Echoes In Rain and Patrick Mullins after winning the eCOMM Merchant Solutions Champion Novice Hurdle

Echoes In Rain got her season back on track with a runaway victory in the Naas Racecourse Business Club Limestone Lad Hurdle.

The seven-year-old had previously won five times since joining Willie Mullins, including Grade Two and Grade One wins in novice company over hurdles and a lucrative handicap success on the Flat at the Galway Festival last summer.

She was subsequently beaten a neck by Waterville in the Irish Cesarewitch before falling two flights from home on her return to the jumping game in the Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse last month.

Echoes In Rain won the Grade One Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown in April
Image: Echoes In Rain won the Grade One Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown in April

Dropping in trip and class for this two-mile Grade Three, Echoes In Rain was the 5-6 favourite and those who took the cramped odds will have had few concerns as she cruised into contention under a motionless Paul Townend before pulling 10 lengths clear of stablemate Cash Back.

Dual Cheltenham Festival winner Bob Olinger stuck to his guns to finish third after coming under pressure leaving the back straight, but in truth looks a shadow of his former self.

"She did it nicely, probably better than I expected," Mullins said of the winner.

"We thought we probably had the fastest horse in the race so Paul wasn't in any rush to get to the front. He was happy enough to let someone else make it.

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"She was keen enough as well and probably the few runs on the Flat lit her up a bit. That's the problem you have when you mix it. With a faster-run race she'll be all right.

"When you go up a grade, to Grade One, I'm not sure she's sharp enough at two miles.

"The Mares' Hurdle (at Cheltenham) is two and a half and maybe that's where she'll go. That would be the first port of call, I'd think."

Sky Bet cut Echoes In Rain to 5-1 from 10-1 for the Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle on March 14.

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