Tank oozes class on chasing debut

The Tullow Tank made an impressive return from a lengthy layoff as he claimed the Fairyhouse Membership 2015 On Sale Now Beginners Chase on his fencing bow at Fairyhouse yesterday.

A dual Grade One winner over hurdles last term, he had not run since being edged out by subsequent Cheltenham and Punchestown scorer Vautour at Leopardstown back in February.

Owner Barry Connell opted not to run the six-year-old at Cheltenham in March as former trainer Philip Fenton faced court action over the alleged possession of illegal animal remedies, and he has now switched to the care of Dessie Hughes.

Partnered for the first time by Connell’s new retained rider Adrian Heskin, The Tullow Tank turned in a flawless round of jumping, sitting on the heels of early leader Azorian before beginning to assert after jumping the third-last.

The 4-7 favourite firmly stamped his authority on the contest running to the penultimate fence and Heskin just had to keep him up to his work to see off the useful Mala Beach, with Azorian in third as the leading trio outclassed the four other runners.

Paddy Power immediately offered 6-1 from 10s about The Tullow Tank for next year’s JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Hughes’ was represented by his daughter, Sandra, who said: “He was clever and he’s as good as we thought he’d be. All going well he’ll come back here for the Drinmore.”

Hughes’ son, champion jockey Richard, was also on hand to watch the stable’s leading novice hope in action and he was impressed with what he saw.

He said: “He had a right good blow afterwards so it was a perfect introduction.

“There’s a slight inkling he prefers going right handed, so this place is ideal for him

“We’ll see over time (where he goes), we’ll get his novices done. I’m not saying he won’t go left-handed, but we know he’s happy going right-handed.”

Heskin was also more than satisfied with the gelding’s efforts and expects him to progress for the experience.

He said: “Everything went without a hitch. The horse was very good and well behaved – you couldn’t ask for a better start. Fair play to Dessie and all the team, they had him spot on today.

“There wasn’t much pace early and it suited to get a lead. When I wanted him, he was plenty brave enough.

“All he’ll do is improve, there was plenty there left to work with and that will knock the freshness out of him.”

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