Zaidpour takes Tara Hurdle in Navan

Zaidpour had no trouble landing the odds in the Tara Hurdle at Navan this afternoon.

Zaidpour takes Tara Hurdle in Navan

Zaidpour had no trouble landing the odds in the Tara Hurdle at Navan this afternoon.

An impressive winner of the Royal Bond as a novice, the 1-3 favourite was an expensive failure in two Grade Ones after that before finishing seventh in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

He started this season with questions to answer but stepped up in trip first time out at Thurles, he looked like his old self and the money came pouring in for him in this Grade Two event.

Willie Mullins' charge tracked Prima Vista into the straight before flying the last and Ruby Walsh only needed to nudge him out to beat the outsider Benash by 10 lengths.

Walsh told At The Races: "He did it well.

"He had a run under his belt compared to Prima Vista and Powerstation isn't getting any younger.

"His jumping was really slick and it was the last day to be fair, it's the ground that's important to him, he'd want it softer than that ideally.

"He doesn't lack stamina, he has a bit of boot and it looks like he's heading back up to Grade One level, but he'd need soft ground."

Several bookmakers cut the winner from 33-1 to 25-1 for the Champion Hurdle.

Mullins said: "That was a good performance. He is starting to do what I thought he'd do last year.

"He's doing a lot of work on the sand and that seems to be paying off.

"He's holding his action better. The most important thing for him is to be able to keep his action, he lost it last year.

"I doubt that he'll run at Christmas. We'll find something for him over two and a half miles in the New Year.

"He'd have no problem going back in trip either as he is well up to speed."

Boston Bob (9-4) ran out a most impressive winner of the Grade One Navan Novice Hurdle to give Mullins and Walsh a quickfire double.

Odds-on favourite Mount Benbulben tried to make all under Paul Carberry but jumped right at many of the obstacles, giving away ground.

Walsh appeared anxious turning into the straight on the Graham Wylie-owned youngster, who had only previously won a maiden hurdle.

However, on the run down to the final flight Boston Bob quickened up in the style of a top-class performer and the former Howard Johnson-trained six-year-old ran out a four and a half length winner.

Paddy Power cut the winner to 12-1 from 16-1 for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March and 16-1 from 20s for the Neptune Investment.

Mullins said: "We are delighted with him. We worked him about a month to six weeks ago and couldn't believe what he did for a big, old fashioned chasing type.

"We thought if he could reproduce that on the track we would have a racehorse.

"He made the necessary improvement from the last day and jumped a lot better going that bit faster, except for that slight mistake at the first.

"He relished the trip and he'd have no trouble going further.

"He jumps like a chaser and he'll go the staying novice hurdle route. He won't run again until the New Year.

"He'll be entered in both the longer-distance novice hurdles at Cheltenham and he'd have no trouble with either the two-five (Albert Bartlett) or the three-miler (Neptune).

"I'm not sure which way we will go yet."

Mullins also had news on Mikael D'Haguenet, saying: "He will go to Punchestown on New Year's Eve, there is a race for him there."

Bryan Cooper bagged his first winner since returning from over four weeks on the sidelines with a broken wrist as he got Battling Boru home in the Christmas Cracker Handicap Hurdle.

Substituting for Danny Mullins, the 19-year-old came with a strong run between the final two flights on the Tony Mullins-trained five-year-old, jumping the last with a narrow advantage over Beckett Rock.

Cooper kept the 16-1 chance up to his work, prevailing by a length and a half, with 8-11 favourite Down Under another two and three-quarter lengths away in third.

The winning trainer said: "Maybe the ground was wrong for him at Gowran the last day.

"I was devastated - the syndicate had their annual meeting that night and it was a very subdued affair.

"I can't explain what happened then as he'd been working well. He's done today what I thought he'd do at Gowran.

"Bryan says he jumped great and he'll head for something over Christmas now. It was a lovely surprise."

Odds-on supporters of the exciting Don Cossack had a huge scare before the Gordon Elliott-trained four-year-old got up to land the Irish Form Book 'Future Champions' (Pro/Am) Flat Race.

Just as he had at Cork last week, the Ronald O'Neill-trained Rory O'Moore set off in front and quickly opened up a lengthy lead - one that soon increased as the rest of the field sat way off the pace.

Rory O'Moore was still a long way in front at the three-furlong pole, and only Nina Carberry on Don Cossack (4-6) was able to give chase.

From a furlong out he looked like he might just do it, and in the end got there by a length and a half from the gallant Rory O'Moore.

Paddy Power cut Elliott's charge, who runs in the colours of Gigginstown House Stud, to 10-1 clear favourite (from 12-1 joint-favourite) for the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.

Carberry said: "Turning in I thought they had to stop at some stage as they had gone very quick.

"My horse did well as he is only a four-year-old and the runner-up is six, I think it was a better performance today than the one at Naas.

"He was a bit babyish and I had to give him a few slaps without really getting stuck into him, but he did it well in the end."

Elliott said: "I was panicking for a while but the second is six and a winner and didn't stop.

"He's a bit special, I was confident the horse would win but not so confident in myself as we hadn't had a winner for a couple of weeks.

"He's very good - a proper horse. He might go for something like the Rockview Bumper at the Curragh. There is a chance though that he might not run again this season.

"He's very, very good. We'll mind him and he'll be a three-mile mile chaser in time.

"He'll go hurdling next season."

More in this section

Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

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