Horse Racing: Amaze-Ing Mare Leads All the Way Tobeat Big Boys; WALSH SALUTES ASIAN STAR

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Byline: By PETER O'HEHIR

ASIAN Maze not ched her fourth Grade One success when making all under Ruby Walsh to win the Whitewater Champion Stayers Hur dle at Pun - chestown yesterday.

Tom Mullins' charge made every yard of the running and stretched clear of her nearest pursuer Fire Dragon after the second last flight before 100/1 shot Kerryhead Windfarm came out of the pack to chase her home, beaten four and a half lengths.

Asian Maze is arguably the best National Hunt mare in Ireland since Dawn Run and both trainer Mullins and winning rider Walsh believe that yesterday's three miles stretched her stamina.

Walsh declared: "She had her belly full of it at the back of the second last. It was only her pure guts and determination which kept her going."

And Mullins later confirmed: "Ruby says she's not a staying mare, that she travelled well for two and a half miles.

He says she's a Champion Hurdle mare. But we won't start thinking about those things for six or eight months."

The trainer also said: "I'm very relieved. I got a bit wound-up today, more than ever before, probably because I was responsible for an odds-on favourite in a Grade One race."

"She got a bit of a fright when she fell in Cheltenham and jumped better today than at Aintree.

"She deserves a good break now and, hopefully, she'll be luckier next season. She went lame last October and that delayed her comeback."

"The Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse would be an obvious race to start in and, after that, we'll look at the two Grade One's at Leopardstown (Bewleys and AIG) before we start thinking about Cheltenham again."

On a day of pride for retired trainer Paddy Mullins and his wife Maureen, their elder son Willie - enjoying a tremendous week - also tasted Grade One success when the Mick Fitzgerald-ridden Quatre Heures ran out an impressive eight lengths winner of the tote. …