Passion impresses on chase debut

Wild Passion made a highly satisfactory chasing debut when he ran out the comfortable winner of the Panoramic Restaurant Beginners Chase at Punchestown yesterday.

Paul Carberry had the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle second up with the leaders from the start in the 18-runner contest.

Noel Meade’s charge jumped adequately apart from being a bit slow four out but he was in front after the next.

Clearing the last two obstacles in style, the 6-4 favourite came away to win by four lengths from the staying-on Kill Devil Hill with Publican back in third.

Wild Passion was cut to 10-1 from 12-1 for the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival by Coral following his victory, with Kill Devil Hill into 16-1 from 20s.

Meade said: “The first three home are probably three of the best novices in the country.

“He has schooled well at home, although his jumping is a bit flat still.

“He is a big, tough horse considering he came from the Flat and he should take to jumping fences better than most.

“The plan is to run him in the Drinmore (at Fairyhouse) at the beginning of December and it is quite possible he won’t run again before that.

“Hopefully, all going well, he’ll then go to Leopardstown at Christmas before going for the Arkle back at Leopardstown in February.”

Christy Roche and Edward O’Grady shared the training honours when the pair both completed a double.

O’Grady saddled his brace in the space of a half an hour when Letterman outpointed One Cool Cookie to land the second division of the Maiden Hurdle under Barry Geraghty.

O’Grady and Geraghty were back in the winners enclosure when Tengo Ambro got the better of a good dual with County Final to land the Punchestown Event Centre Maiden Hurdle.

O’Grady said of Tengo Ambro: “He’s a horse who might emulate his dam (Loving Around) and go for the four mile national hunt chase.”

He added: “He might have one more run over hurdles before going over fences”.

Tony McCoy partnered Christy Roche’s first winner of the afternoon when Oscar’s Advance benefited from a fall at the last by King Johns Castle to win the first division of the Maiden Hurdle.

“It’s great to win and he’ll probably go for a novice hurdle over two or two and a half miles”, reported Roche.

Roche then combined with Alan Crowe who partnered Fortmassini to a fourteen length success in the two mile handicap hurdle.

“He’s always been a good little horse, but he kept on getting balloted out. He’s in at the weekend and I’ll have to run him again before he gets reassessed,” remarked Roche.

Virginia Preuil gained an overdue success when staying on strongly inside the last half furlong to win the bumper for Pat Hughes and Mark O’Hare.

Charles Byrnes saddled Mount Henry to his second course victory when the well supported favourite stayed on tenaciously under a fine ride from Andrew McNamara to beat Masrahi in the opening novice hurdle.

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