Prince on course for Aintree after smooth success

Prince De Beauchene made a successful return to action and proved himself on course for the Aintree Grand National when coasting to a smooth success in the Woodlands House Hotel Hurdle in Limerick yesterday.

But the nine-year-old did not provide Patrick Mullins with his record 73rd success of 2012 after an application by his trainer/father Willie for Patrick to replace the trainer’s nephew on Prince De Beauchene was turned down by the Limerick Stewards.

The plan involved Patrick riding at Limerick before ravelling to ride in the Leopardstown bumper.

Mullins was reportedly fuming in Leopardstown when he heard the news. But, quite simply, if Patrick had been declared for the horse on Wednesday, the problem would not have arisen.

In the race, Prince De Beauchene, having his first run over hurdles since 2008, was always travelling strongly and, in front turning for home, kept finding plenty when tackled by Venture Capital to win by three-and-a-quarter lengths.

Emmet Mullins said afterwards: “He was very impressive. He travelled and jumped great, was always going easily and galloped to the line. I’m sure Aintree is the plan again and, hopefully, he’ll get there in one piece this time.”

Stan James cut Prince De Beauchene to 16/1 (from 25) for the Aintree Grand National in the wake of this convincing display.

The chase action produced more than its share of drama and a fortunate win for course specialist Jack Absolute after Harpsy Cord

- in command — crashed at the final fence, leaving Brian O’Connell’s mount to beat Tullintain in the Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Chase..

Jack Absolute was registering his sixth success at Limerick (from a career haul of eight wins) and his trainer John Joe Walsh admitted: “This race has been the plan for a while and you can’t beat a bit of luck.”

He added: “It’s very much a case of horses for courses with this fellow. I told Brian going out not to give up, if he was in shouting distance of the leaders at the top of the hill. This old fellow just keeps going.”

Jim Dreaper, trainer of the unlucky Harpsy Cord, gained compensation when Goonyella landed the incident-filled Earl Of Harrington Memorial Hunters Chase, when left clear at the second last. Just three of the sixteen runners completed the course.

Goonyella, like Harpsy Cord, wearing the familiar Potts colours, provided rider Jamie Flynn with his second racecourse win. The trainer’s son Thomas commented: “He’s a hardy horse and will go for some of the better hunters chases now. He’ll probably go handicapping next season and could be a nice horse for the likes of he Troytown or Thyestes.

Trainer Mark Roper savoured his first success since August 2008 when joint-favourite Courtly Conduct and Mick Darcy won the opening Roches Feeds Maiden Hurdle.

Formerly with Jim Bolger and now based with Paul Nolan, Conor Walsh (20), from County Waterford, registered his first win in the saddle when Sacre Malta, trained by Willie Murphy, powered to a fifteen lengths success in the Limerick Racecourse Vets Handicap Hurdle. The winner might reappear in Tramore or Punchestown next week.


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