The 2022 Cheltenham Champion Hurdle is the target for Echoes In Rain after the Willie Mullins-trained filly landed the Grade One Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
Under the ride of Patrick Mullins, the 8/13 favourite had three and a quarter lengths to spare over Colonel Mustard with stablemate Blue Lord in third.
“It’s a great start for Patrick and the Echoes In Rain connections, Barnane Stud,” champion trainer Mullins said after the race.
“She is a filly that’s improving as she learns about racing. She just made one mistake and Patrick blamed himself because he didn’t want to let her jump it as well as she was setting herself up to jump it because she was going to land there too soon and he let her fiddle it. Everything else was good.
“She’s a filly that’s now after winning at top class and hopefully that’s where she’ll say for the next couple of years.
“She’s improving every day and she looks like she’s setting herself up to have a chance at going for a Champion Hurdle.”
The win boosts the chances of Patrick Mullins winning the Qualified Riders’ championship, and he says it's a victory for the entire yard.
“Rachel Boyle rides her at home and did a fantastic job to get her to settle. She’s fantastic to leap.
“I was trying to keep in tight around the bend and once I got out she picked up again."