Willie Mullins’ Arvika Ligeonniere, so impressive in the Drinmore at Fairyhouse previously, added to that success in the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown yesterday, but you would have to say was less than impressive.
He again took a strong hold under Paul Townend and showed a marked tendency, at least at times, to jump to his right.
Arvika Ligeonniere went badly right three out and was again inclined to run down the final fence.
But he did set a fair old pace in front and had both Oscar Wells and Baily Green in trouble before the turn in.
Arvika Ligeonniere didn’t, however, bound clear as he had done at Fairyhouse, crossing the line a hard-earned two and a half lengths clear of the one-paced Oscars Well.
Said Mullins: “He settled over the first, then jumped the second and third well, before piling on the pace.
“I thought he was getting tired, but Paul felt he was idling. He’s a huge horse and we learned today that he is able to take on a Grade I hurdle horse (Oscars Well) over fences.
“He will now come back here in January for the Arkle.”
The defection of Our Conor (coughing) from the Grade 2 Q8 Oils Juvenile Hurdle saw Mullins’ Blood Cotil go of a short-priced favourite.
He strolled through the contest and scored with plenty in hand for Townend. Blood Cotil came there full of running heading to the last and only had to be bustled along to easily beat Stocktons Wing by three lengths.
Mullins indicated that his one worry before the race was getting the French-import to settle. But there were no worries on that score and he did his job with the minimum of fuss.
Said Mullins: “He’s a nice sort and settled and jumped great. I hope he will be at the top-end of our three-year-olds going across.
“I’d imagine he will have one more run before heading to Cheltenham for the Triumph Hurdle.”
Stan James offered 14-1, from 16’s, about him for that race.
Punters began on the right note when Ned Buntline landed some decent wagers in the Bookmakers’ Bar At Bewleys Hotel Leopardstown Maiden hurdle.
Partnered with a lot of confidence by Paul Carberry, he came from behind to join issue with Mullins’ Urano on the approach to the final flight.
Once at the back of the obstacle, however, there was only going to be one winner, as Ned Buntline edged away to score by two lengths.
Trainer, Noel Meade, said: “That’s a weight of my back. He didn’t jump very well the last day (Fairyhouse) and two miles and two was too far. He will improve a good bit for this and we’ll now find a novice hurdle somewhere.”
Ned Buntline was introduced by Stan James at 25-1 for both the Supreme and Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdles at Cheltenham.
Mags Mullins’ Anonis did really well to land the Q8 Oils Maiden Hurdle, in the hands of her son, Danny.
Anonis, who made most of the running, looked as if he might refuse five out, but managed to scramble to the other side.
Joked his rider: “He just had a little look, he was trying to keep me awake.” In any case, Anonis was soon powering away again, but The Paparrazi Kid appeared to have his measure going to the final flight.
The Paparrazi Kid, though, hit the top of the obstacle and Anonis rallied back to beat his rival going away by a length and three parts.
Commented Mags: “He was green, as I thought he would be. This horse had a problem last Christmas and didn’t do as much schooling as I’d have liked. He’s tough and wants three miles.”
Colm Murphy’s Shariyan, having his first outing since February, was all the rage in the morning for the Download The Free Racing Post Mobile App. Handicap Hurdle and was strong on track as well, going off the 4-1 favourite.
Partnered by Robert Power, he found plenty up the straight to beat Blazing Sonnet and land some tasty wagers.
“This was a competitive race, but I’d have been disappointed had he got beaten”, revealed Murphy.
Fethard, Co Tipperary trainer, Harry Kelly, is rapidly making a name for himself and was on the mark again when newcomer, Moyle Park, won the Bumper.
Far from neglected in the market, he forged ahead early in the straight for Pa King to beat Blackmail.
Said Kelly: “He did what we thought he’d do, we didn’t come here for the good of our health.
“I’ll talk to the owners before deciding what to do next, but that was only his second time on grass and he’s entitled to go anywhere.”
Jacksonslady, who disappointed on the all-weather at Dundalk, came back to her best in the Racing Post All You Need for Irish Racing Handicap Chase.
Given a powerful Katie Walsh drive, the mare swept up to lead at the final fence to easily beat Rubert.
Harley Dunne, who rode Glibin in this contest, was found guilty of careless riding and suspended for six days.
nThe attendance was 14,091, marginally down on 14,251 a year ago.
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