Stormy Ireland (6/1 Mares’ Hurdle) brought a fine end to the festive period for Willie (pictured) and Danny Mullins after winning the Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Just under a week after the Mullins pair combined to win the King George VI Chase with Tornado Flyer, they were back in the winners circle at Cheltenham.

Stormy Ireland had only made one previous appearance this season, finishing 36 lengths behind Honeysuckle in sixth at Fairyhouse, but Saturday’s performance was on another level.

The eight-year-old, steered by Danny, sealed victory by two-and-a-half lengths ahead of McFabulous to further strengthen her claims for the Mares’ Hurdle at March’s Cheltenham Festival.

Earlier in the day at Prestbury Park, L’Homme Presse kicked off the New Year with a fine 10-length win over The Glancing Queen in the Paddy Power Novices’ Chase.

The seven-year-old has now won three in a row, rising 20lbs in the ratings, and is building some serious momentum ahead of the Festival.

L’Homme Presse is 8/1 to win the Marsh Novices’ Chase with Bob Olinger the 11/8 favourite to scoop the top prize.

Trainer Venetia Williams said: “I was pleased with the way he quickened up, but he’s had three relatively quick races.

“I don’t think we need to be going up in trip just yet given he’s doing what he’s doing, but I really liked the way he quickened to the line.”

Racing fans will also have had an eye on the action at Tramore on New Year’s Day, in particular the 14:20 Savills New Year’s Day Chase, as Al Boum Photo was back in action.

The 10-year-old won the Gold Cup in 2019 and 2020 is priced at 10/1 to win it for a third time after easing to a four-length victory on Saturday.

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