Kempes strikes to foil gamble

RUBY Walsh produced Kempes with a perfectly-timed challenge to foil gambled-on favourite Jagoes Mills in the Grade 2 Nas Na Riogh Novice Chase (re-scheduled from Naas last Sunday) on an all-chase card at Thurles yesterday.

Running for the fourth time over fences and tackling two and a half miles for the second time, Kempes came from off the pace to track the Davy Russell-ridden Jagoes Mills turning for home as An Cathaoir Mor began to struggle before being eventually pulled up.

Produced to challenge between the last two fences, Kempes soon asserted and kept going to triumph by four lengths, completing a double for absent trainer Willie Mullins and champion-jockey Walsh, successful in the opener with Cru.

Gary Davis, representing Willie Mullins, explained: “Ruby was delighted with the way he jumped today. I suppose he was unproven over the trip.

“But Ruby got him settled and gave him every chance. This win over two and a half miles gives him more options for the rest of the season.”

Kempes is not entered for Cheltenham and is likely to be aimed at Fairyhouse and Punchestown instead.

The Mullins/Walsh double was initiated when Cru, disappointing so often in the past, finally came good in the opening Irish Stallion Farms Mares Beginners Chase, getting the better of Willies Girl by a half-length in a dramatic race in which the leader Brave Betsy (Barry Geraghty) and the challenging Dolly Hall (Davy Russell) both crashed at the second last.

Both Dessie Hughes and Adrian Maguire equalled Willie Mullins’ achievement in saddling a double, Maguire combining with Shane Hassett to triumph with Let Yourself Go and What’s Up Gorden.

Promising novice Let Yourself Go, a triple winner before disappointing at Galway back in October, produced an impressive performance to land the Cashel Chase by no less than twenty-three lengths from Tawnies.

Let Yourself Go adopted his customary front-running tactics and, jumping impeccably, had his rivals at full stretch when odds-on favourite Dooney’s Gate made his exit four fences from home.

Winning trainer Maguire stated: “He really enjoyed it out there. He likes to jump and bowl along and is back on song. He ran flat at Galway back in October, so we gave him a break to freshen him up.

“There are plenty of options open to him now and he’ll probably go to Fairyhouse at Easter, for the Powers Gold Cup.”

Maguire expressed himself “thrilled” by the victory of What’s Up Gorden, under top-weight, in the Bawntameena Novice Handicap Chase, Shane Hassett’s mount getting the better of Chasers Chance by three lengths.

“He’s always been a nice horse and would prefer better ground.

“He stays well and will stay handicapping.”

Lurgan made all under Paddy Flood to record a bloodless, nineteen lengths victory in the Ballycahill Beginners Chase, the 13/8 favourite outstaying O Crotaigh and his uneasy market-rival P’tit Fute.

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