Critic and Seabass impress in Ireland
Rock Critic was an impressive winner of the Racegoer's 25 euros Package Hurdle at Fairyhouse as last year's John Smith's Grand National third Seabass made a fine return to action in second.
- Related Content
The Willie Mullins-trained Make Your Mark was the 4/6 market leader for his seasonal reappearance on the strength of some smart novice form last term, with Rock Critic next best at 9/4 after winning on his hurdling bow at last year's Galway Festival.
The two of them disputed the running throughout but it was clear before the home turn that Robbie McNamara was travelling far better aboard the winner than Davy Russell was on the odds-on favourite.
The Dermot Weld-trained Rock Critic eased clear once straightened up for home and safely negotiated the last couple of obstacles to seal a three-and-a-quarter-length victory and make it two from two over timber.
Ted Walsh's Seabass ran a tremendous race on his first appearance since his superb Aintree performance last spring.
The ten-year-old was predictably outpaced over this two-mile trip but stayed on strongly in the straight to grab the runner-up spot from a rather disappointing Make Your Mark.
Rock Critic was cut to 16/1 for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle by Sky Bet but Weld warned he was not a certain starter at Cheltenham.
He said: "He did what I thought he would do. He knows his job and he jumps well. He would much prefer better ground. We've no definite plan - we'll speak to the owners.
"He's entered in Cheltenham but at the moment I see him as a Punchestown/Fairyhouse horse.
"We didn't plan to get there so soon but his jumping took him there - he jumped like a stag."