Marito wins informative heat
There was a dramatic start to an informative renewal of the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Novice Chase won by Marito at Naas.
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Jim Culloty's Beeverstown, a winner last time out, shied as the tape went up and unshipped Robbie McNamara.
Ruby Walsh was content to follow Ballyadam Brook in the early stages on Marito before taking up the running going down the back straight.
He was followed by Mount Benbulben and Paul Carberry, fresh from his stirring success in the Welsh National 24 hours earlier.
There was nothing in it as the pair jumped the last but it was Marito, the 4-6 favourite, who got Willie Mullins and Walsh back into their familiar winning routine by a head.
Flemenstar and War Of Attrition have won the race in recent years.
Mullins said: "He put in a good round of jumping, bar four out, where he showed he was able to fiddle one.
"He's in the (Irish) Arkle (January 27) - I don't know if that's too soon for him but we'll have a look at it.
"He could go two and a half miles - I think he'll stay no problem.
"It could be the Arkle next or the Moriarty."
Mullins and Walsh did suffer an earlier odds-on reverse when Upazo was turned over by Jennies Jewel.
Jennies Jewel, trained by Jarlath Fahey, was a beaten favourite at Limerick on Boxing Day but bounced back to the useful form he had shown in bumpers.
Given a lovely waiting ride by Ian McCarthy, the pair pounced on Walsh, who was stood down at Chepstow on Saturday following a couple of falls, after the last flight to win going away by two lengths.
Fahey said: "I'm delighted. She was caught out by the very deep ground at Limerick - she travelled very well then but just stopped.
"We knew that if she was back to her Punchestown run that she'd have a chance.
"Ian said he rode her more patiently and she's seen out the trip well.
"There's a possibility she could go for the mares' Listed race at Fairyhouse at the end of the month."
Charlie's Vic was the latest to prevent Our Girl Salley from getting off the mark over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Mares Beginners Chase.
Noel Kelly trains the Derek Fox-ridden winner and said: "I always thought chasing was going to be her game. I thought it was a brilliant ride - he dropped out and did what he was told as he always does.
"He came late and timed it well. I think she was slightly over the top when she ran at Punchestown in the spring and we had plenty of confidence in her coming here today.
"We'll look for a mares' novice chase for her now."
Dermot Weld's Grecian Tiger was sent off the 8-15 favourite in the bumper but needed the line badly as Totally Dominant closed to within a length.
"He just began to tie up and he'll appreciate better ground," said Weld.
"The four-year-old winners bumper at Leopardstown is the logical plan and we'll see how he gets on there."