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Incident-packed first day at Punchestown

Willie Mullins endured an up and down day to say the least at Punchestown in his bid to overhaul Gordon Elliott and win another Irish trainers’ championship.

Mullins started proceedings 521,413 euro ($A839,000) behind Elliott and ended on 405,839, but after an early domination of events, a chaotic finish to the Growise Champion Novice Chase could prove pivotal in the final reckoning.

Un De Sceaux had left champion Mullins smiling following the feature Champion Chase, but Paul Townend inexplicably throwing away what looked certain victory aboard Al Boum Photo put a different look on things.

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As Townend elected to chart what proved an errant path in the Grade One contest, The Storyteller was left clear to lead home a one-two-three for Elliott – his second of the day.

“This title is going to go to the wire. It’s great for the game, but it’s not good for my heart anyway,” Elliott said.

“It’s going to be ding dong for the week and it just shows what can happen.”

Un De Sceaux and Patrick Mullins had seen off odds-on stablemate Douvan to take the Champion Chase by 2-3/4r lengths at 9-2, at that stage cutting the Elliott lead almost in half after Mullins had struck the first blow through Draconien in the Champion Novice Hurdle.

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