Third behind Hurricane Fly and Solwhit in this event last year, Voler La Vedette came from last to first under Andrew Lynch (following-up his ‘Tinge Creek’ win on Sizing Europe on Saturday) to master the Willie Mullins-trained pair Mourad and Final Approach between the last two flights before staying on to score by three and three-quarter lengths.
Winning trainer Colm Murphy enthused: “I’m thrilled to bits! Shedeserved her Grade 1 after knocking on the door for so long. But she’s a stronger and better mare this year, and easier to train.
“The yard has been more like a health spa than a training stable at times. This mare had a lot of muscle problems last year but credit toeveryone at home, the whole team, she seems better than ever. And this is their reward.”
Outlining plans for the seven-year-old King’s Theatre, Murphy confirmed: “She’s in both the two-mile Grade 1 (Istabraq Hurdle) and the three-miler (Grade 2 Christmas Hurdle) at Leopardstown. And the ground will dictate which she’ll run in. If it’s very testing, she’ll go for the Grade 1, otherwise, it’ll be the three-mile race. She shouldn’t have a problem with the longer trip — Andrew said she settled like a lamb today.”
The Tony Martin-trained Bog Warrior, second leg of Ruby Walsh’s Gerade 1 double, produced the performance of the day when bolting home a 31 lengths winner of the Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase.
Very free over the first few fences and allowed take the lead at sixth fence, Bog Warrior produced another spectacular display of jumping and stretched clear fro the third last to beat Shinrock Paddy impressively, withRivage D’Or third.
Favourite First Lieutenant, like the winner and third, owned by Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, blundered badly at the eighth and dropped out of contention tamelygoing to the third last before being pulled up between the last two fences. Mouse Morris’ charge was later found to have burst a blood vessel.
Bog Warrior was Tony Martin’s first Grade 1 winner. And he admitted: “He has always shown us that he’s a good horse, something special. He had a little setback early on. But weminded him and we just have to keep him right. He’s as good as I’ve had, definitely a Grade 1 horse.”
He added: “After he got off him, Ruby told me to mind him. And we won’t be in any rush with him. He’s in both the two mile and three-mile Grade 1’s at Christmas. But we’ll see how he is. He’s a real soft ground horse and, long-term, he could be a horse for those good races in Leopardstown, the ‘ Lexus and the Hennessy.”
Asked about Cheltenham, Martin responded: “We’ll get Christmas and the New Year out of the way first. And he wouldn’t go to Cheltenham unless the ground was on the soft side of yielding.”
Ruby Walsh initiated his Grade 1 double when Sous Les Cieux, in the familiar Ricci colours, justified 6/4 favouritism in the Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle.
Having tracked Dazzling Susie, Walsh allowed the favourite edge ahead three flights from home and, facing the next, the five-year-old was clearly in command. Between the last two flights, Galileo’s Choice gave chase as the leading duo forged clear of theremainder. But Willie Mullins’ charge always had the edge and triumphed by a length and a quarter.
In his post-race comments, Mullins admitted: “He exceeded what I thought he could do. And it waspleasing he did it the hard way and appeared to enjoy his jumping. Ruby knows he stays and took it up early.”
Already proven over two and a half miles, Sous Les Cieux had little difficulty dropping back to the minimum trip here. And Mullins commented: “I imagine he’ll stay further, but he’ll stick to two miles for the moment. We’ll wait for Christmas and the Deloitte with him. We’ll look at the two-mile Grade 1 at Leopardstown.”
Dermot Weld, trainer of runner-up Galileo’s Choice, indicated his charge will now have a break and will have one ‘prep’ outing before the ‘Supreme Novices’ at Cheltenham, for which Sous Les Cieux is now 12/1 (Paddy Power) and 14/1 (Boylesports).
Sam Bass, trained by Noel Meade for the Trim-based McAlpine Syndicate, registered his third win over hurdles when outpointing the quirky His Excellency and One Cool Shabra in the opening Grade 3 Bar OneRacing Juvenile 3-Y-0 Hurdle. Ridden prominently by Paul Carberry, theAlhaarth gelding got the better of One Cool Shabra between the last two flight before scoring by a length and a half, prompting Meade to declare: “That was great — he stays very well and might have won further if Paul went on a bit going to the last.”
“I’ve been worried about that sort of ground, but he worked great on itrecently and seemed to get through it well today. We felt he had improved a bit since his last run. He’ll head to Leopardstown at Christmas now, and we’ll see where we’ll go from there.”
The well-touted Philip Fenton-trained Venture Capital made a very encouraging debut when landing the bumper under Richie Kiely, racing prominently throughout before beating Bright New Dawn by three lengths. Fenton stated: “He has looked a nice horse from a while back and I’m delighted with him. He’s a staying horse and we didn’t want it to develop into a sprint — that’s why Riche tried to dictate things from halfway. “Better ground will suit him and, although he jumps well, he’s only four and it’s a bit early to go jumping. He was on the verge of going pint-to-pointing but showed enough at home to go for a bumper instead. I don’t think he’ll run at Christmas and will probably have a break until the spring.”
In the handicap action, the J P McManus-owned favourite Smoking Aces prevailed in the Caffreys OfBatterstown Handicap, prompting trainer Tom Taaffe to declare: “He’s broken our hearts in the past. But he got out of bed the right side today. I told Mark (Walsh) to hunt around and take his time. And it worked. I’m not sure where he’ll go, but he’s in the Paddy Power at Christmas.”
And Cloughmile, a recent winner at Gowran Park, followed-up for Michael Hourigan and Adrian Heskin in the mares handicap chase, proving too strong for Our Victoria. She’ll now head for Limerick over Christmas.