But his achievement was almost overshadowed by the chasing debut success of 158-rated hurdler Oscars Well, under Robbie Power, in the Book New Year’s Eve Beginners Chase.
Trained by Jessica Harrington, in treble form in Naas on Monday, Oscars Well produced a faultless display of jumping to record his first success since the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown in February of last year.
Robbie Power was happy to track the leaders on the favourite before making his move, on the inside of Darwin Fox, at the third last. Soon in front, he stretched clear between the last two fences to record an win emphatically by 12 lengths.
“I feel a lot better now. That was great, a lovely introduction,” enthused trainer Harrington. “I couldn’t believe how good his jumping was, although he has done plenty of schooling. Robbie said that, long or short, it was all the same to him.
“He’ll definitely run in the Drinmore (at Fairyhouse, on December 2) and won’t run again before then — I intend keeping him as fresh as possible through the season.”
Stan James cut Oscars Well to 10/1 second favourite (from 14) for next year’s Arkle at Cheltenham.
The two-and-a-half-mile Ballymore Christmas Fair & Family Fun November Festival Beginners Chase developed in to a real war of attrition, between two exciting chasing prospects, with the spoils going to the Henry de Beomhead-trained Buckers Bridge after Sword Of Destiny, in front and apparently set for victory, gave it away at the final fence.
Davy Russell’s mount landed awkwardly and hung left when trying to recover, affording the Andrew Lynch-ridden Buckers Bridge an opportunity to regain the lead, which he had enjoyed from flagfall until he second last. Andrew Lynch kept the six-year-old going on to beat Sword Of Destiny by a length-and-a-half.
“They’re two good horses and I suppose we had a bit of luck on our side at the last, but who knows what might have happened?”, said a delighted de Bromhead. “They started racing a long way out and kept going well. Andrew said out horse is still very green — it was only his third run on the track and his fourth in all — and that he had a big blow turning in. So he should improve from the run. And although his jumping was grand, it’s something we can work on.”
“He’s an exciting horse, with a high cruising speed. And, in heavy ground, I might drop back in trip, although we have no firm plan for him yet.”
Both winner and runner-up received RSA Chase quotes from Stan James, who make Sword Of Destiny a 33/1 shot while offering 40/1 about Buckers Bridge.
De Bromhead and Lynch were on the mark again when Clonbanon Lad, a dual bumper-winner for Mikey O’Connor, made a successful debut for his new trainer in the Follow Us On Facebook & Twitter Maiden Hurdle.
An initially uneasy favourite, before being backed into 8/11, Clonbanon Lad made all and jumped more fluently than market rival Operating, which he beat by three lengths, prompting de Bromhead to comment: “That was very impressive. We were so lucky to get a horse like him. He’ll get further, although there’s no need for that in heavy ground. Andrew was very pleased with him and said he started running away with him after the third last.”
The Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle, at Fairyhouse on December 2, is Clonbanon Lad’s next target, with stable-companion Sizing Rio expected to head for Cheltenham’s November meeting.
Andrew Lynch notched the middle leg of his treble when bringing MrGoodenough, trained locally by John Robinson, with a well-timed challenge to beat Kylebeg Krystle in the Punchestown Annual Membership 2013 Handicap Chase.
The Paul Nolan-trained Jupitor jumped well and appreciated a step-up in trip to win the 10 Euro Admission Maiden Hurdle under Mikey Doran while Last Time D’albain, unsuited by a race that “developed into a sprint” in Cork last time (according to trainer Liam Cusack), justified 7/4 favouritism in the Panoramic Restaurant Handicap Hurdle. The winner will go for another handicap hurdle before reverting to chasing at Chrsitmas.
And the Brian Hamilton-trained Honey Bach made all under Barry O’Neill to record a convincing win in the mares’ bumper. Hamilton is undecided on plans for the five-year-old, whether to go for a third bumper, at Christmas, or go hurdling.