Ruby Walsh bagged a sparkling hat-trick for Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, as he partnered Vroum Vroum Mag to a facile victory in the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle, which handed favourite backers another success on what has been a day dominated by the star trio of the Irish National Hunt sphere.
Having already tasted victory on Douvan and Annie Power earlier in the day in the recognisable pink silks of the aforementioned Ricci, Walsh was travelling smoothly throughout the contest and the heavily-punted 4/6 favourite, but while a sketchy, lofty jump in the second half of the contest may have tested a few nerves, she was simply a cut above her rivals, as she bounded two-and-three-quarter lengths clear of her rivals.
Holding a position in the mid-division from the outset, Vroum Vroum Mag cantered into contention free-wheeling down the hill, and turning for home the danger came in front rather than behind, but a sparkling leap at the final flight put the race to bed, and Walsh acknowledged the crowd as he eased the mare out hands and heels.
Huge outsider Rock On The Moor put up a brave performance in second, as she chased home the rampant winner at 66/1, while Legacy Gold (40/1) was another huge-priced contender who was unable to live with what is another smart mare to roll off the Mullins' production line, as the Closutton handler wins the race for the eighth year in a row.
16:10 OLBG Mares' Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle) 1.Vroum Vroum Mag - W Mullins - R Walsh - 4/6F 2.Rock On The Moor - J Harrington - R Power - 66/1 3.Legacy Gold - S Crawford - A Lynch - 40/1 20 Ran