Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 4f
- (4yo+, 2m 4f, Class 1, 4 runners)
- Winner €55,800 2nd €17,100 3rd €8,100 4th €2,700 5th €1,800
- Going: Good to Yielding
- Surface: Turf
- Winning time: 4m 49.10s
- Off time: 18:05:12
Apache Stronghold (IRE) 26
|6||164 11-10||N Meade||P Carberry||140||14/1|
Lac Fontana (FR) 27
|5||164 11-10||P F Nicholls||N D Fehily||148||5/1|
Lieutenant Colonel 26
|5||164 11-10||D T Hughes||B T O'Connell||143||7/1|
Vautour (FR) 52
|5||164 11-10||W P Mullins||R Walsh||158||1/3f|
||6||1110||A J Martin||A P McCoy||NR|
Un Atout (FR)
||5||11-10||W P Mullins||D N Russell||4/6|
VAUTOUR could not have been more impressive in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, making nearly all the running and pulling clear after the last to beat Josses Hill by six lengths. The runner-up went one better in a Grade 2 at Aintree last month and it's difficult to see anything lowering the colours of the Mullins' gelding here as the extra half-mile won't be a problem on breeding. He beat the useful Lieutenant Colonel by more than five lengths at Navan in December and his trainer should also know where he stands with that one on a line through the equally-classy Faugheen. Lac Fontana won a Grade 1 at Aintree but was less than three lengths ahead of Wilde Blue Yonder, who was more than eight lengths behind the selection at Cheltenham. Apache Stronghold is held by Lieutenant Colonel on Fairyhouse running while this is a huge step up in class for Limerick maiden winner Noble Emperor.
Noble Emperor (IRE) 6-4fav (11-12) Tracked leaders, 7th halfway, progress into 3rd 3 out, 2nd before straight, led before 2 out where slight mistake, clear before last, easily, won at Limerick 2m 3f mdn hdl in Apr beating Drumacoo (11-12) by 13l, 17 ran.
Vautour (FR) 7-2fav (11-7) With leader, led 2nd, made rest, not fluent 3 out, ridden clear after last, stayed on well, won at Cheltenham 2m nov hdl Grade 1 (1) gs in Mar beating Josses Hill (11-7) by 6l, 18 ran.
Apache Stronghold (IRE) 4-1 (11-10) Held up, soon in mid-division, improved on outer before 3 out, 3rd approaching straight, moderate 4th and no impression 2 out, kept on one pace,, 4th of 13, 20l behind Lieutenant Colonel (11-5) at Fairyhouse 2m 4f nov hdl G2 (1) sft in Apr.
Lieutenant Colonel 5-1 (11-5) Soon tracked leaders, went 2nd approaching straight, led 2 out, stayed on well to draw clear run-in,, won at Fairyhouse 2m 4f nov hdl G2 (1) sft in Apr beating Le Vent D'Antan (11-5) by 10l, 13 ran.
Lac Fontana (FR) 9-2fav (11-4) Held up in touch in 6th, headway after 4 out, went 2nd 3 out, ridden before last, kept on to lead last 100 yards, won at Aintree 2m 4f nov hdl Grade 1 (1) gs in Apr beating Splash of Ginge (11-4) by 1 1/2l, 12 ran.