The Boylesports.com Champion Chase at the Punchestown Festival is top of the agenda for Mallowney following a staggeringly easy win in the Underwriting Exchange Dan Moore Memorial Chase at Fairyhouse yesterday.
Tim Doyle’s stable star was a winner in handicap company at Punchestown last spring and has taken his game to another level this season, mixing it with the big boys on a few occasions.
After being heartbreakingly pipped in the Hilly Way Chase at Cork, the nine-year-old was unable to make an impact in the Grade One Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase and was an 8-1 shot for his latest big-race assignment.
Davy Russell cut a confident figure throughout in the saddle and it was clear rounding the home turn he had far more in the tank than his toiling rivals.
Russell remained motionless as Mallowney approached the final fence and he pinged it to seal a most impressive success in the €100,000 feature.
Favourite Bright New Dawn was best of the rest in second, some 10 lengths away.
Doyle said: “He never runs a bad race but I thought he was exceptional today. He was up against Grade Two horses and beat them at his ease.
“He’ll go for the Newlands Chase at Naas at the end of February but won’t go to Cheltenham.
“We’ll stay at home. His end of season target is the Boylesports Champion Chase at Punchestown.”
Officieux dominated from the front in the Fundraisers @ Fairyhouse Maiden Hurdle.
Noel Meade’s four-year-old was an 11-2 shot following a couple of fair efforts at Gowran Park and at this track the last twice and Paul Carberry’s mount never looked in danger, coming home 12 lengths clear of favourite Hostile Fire.
Meade said: “I fancied him coming here today but Paul said he’d no chance on the ground.
“He pulled very hard the last day and I said today to try him in front. He settled in front.
“He has a very strong staying pedigree and we think he’ll be better on better ground.”
Rathpatrick was a 10-1 winner of the Easter Festival 5th-7th April Maiden Hurdle for trainer Eoin Griffin and jockey Mark Walsh, beating fellow JP McManus-owned runner Oscar Knight by four and a half lengths.
Griffin said: “That’s my first winner for Mr McManus and it’s also my first winner bred by my dad (Sean) as a public trainer, so it’s great on both counts.
“It took a while for the penny to drop with him. He was a bit novicey over hurdles at first and took time to relax.
“A step up in trip will suit him and the softer the ground the better.”
The McManus colours were in the winner’s enclosure again after Tony McCoy steered the Willie Mullins-trained 2-1 favourite Florishwells D’Ete to victory in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Beginners Chase.
The five-year-old mare finished last of five on her chasing debut at Navan, but stepped forward to win this event by six and a half lengths from Art Of Payroll.
Mullins said: “She’s getting her act together but needs to improve her jumping. If she can do that she should improve away.
“I’ll probably find a mares’ novice chase but have no big plans for her at the moment.
“They went a hell of a gallop and she handled the ground well.”
Mullins doubled up in the bumper as point-to-point graduate and 1-2 favourite Au Quart De Tour posted a comprehensive victory on his debut under Rules.
RaceBets make the five-year-old their new 8-1 favourite from 12-1 for the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival.
The trainer said: “He came to us with a big reputation but was not showing anything until he did a nice bit of work early this week. So to do that off what looked a slow pace, I’m very happy with him.
“There seemed to be a number of fancied horses in the race. He should improve now that he’s turned a corner.
“He’ll stay in bumpers this season, and will probably have another run before Cheltenham.”
The father-son combination of Tom and Pat Foley teamed up to land the Ward Union Hunt Raceday Handicap Hurdle as 8-1 chance Might Be Magic struck gold at Fairyhouse for a third time.
Tom Foley said: “He broke his pelvis in three places in Naas (March 2011) and we thought he’d never race again.
“He never runs a bad race here. I thought he was beaten when he made a mistake at the last but he’s got great heart and never gives in.”
Recent Limerick winner Dromnea dug deep to follow up in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Rated Novice Chase for Mouse Morris and David Casey.
Morris said: “I’ll find another novice for him and he’ll be aimed at the good novice handicap at the Punchestown Festival.
“He ran a bit free but jumps well, which is the main thing.”
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