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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Staff Reporter

Willie Mullins-trained horse dies following Punchestown Festival run weeks after Cheltenham third

Novice hurdler Diverge has died after suffering a tendon injury at last week's Punchestown Festival, trainer Willie Mullins has confirmed.

The five-year-old finished third behind Marine Nationale and stablemate Facile Vega in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival back in March and was sent off at odds of 4/1 against the latter of those rivals for the Grade 1 KPMG Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown last Tuesday.

After setting off in front, Diverge suffered the injury during the race and crossed the line last of five, 108 lengths behind favourite Facile Vega, who won at odds of 4/6.

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Mullins told the Racing Post that the son of Frankel "overreached badly at Punchestown and did a lot of damage to his tendon", adding that "he was unable to be saved as a riding horse or as a pet" after being sent to a veterinary hospital.

Diverge was having just his fourth run for the Carlow trainer after joining the Closutton yard from France.

He finished sixth behind former Derby favourite High Definition in his first start over hurdles at Leopardstown in December before bolting up by 23 lengths at Punchestown a month later and ran a cracker at Cheltenham, the form of which has been well boosted since.

Mullins believed that the horse had "a very bright future ahead".


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