• Racing/
  • Pont Takes Big Navan Prize

Navan Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 4f

  • (4yo+, 2m 4f, Class 1, 5 runners)
  • Winner €45,500 2nd €13,300 3rd €6,300 4th €2,100
  • Going: Heavy
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 5m 14.80s
  • Off time: 13:26:03
  • Last Updated: December 16 2012, 17:15 GMT

Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh took the feature Grade One Navan Novice Hurdle with Pont Alexandre (3/1).

Pont Alexandre (right) makes a sparking Irish debut
Pont Alexandre (right) makes a sparking Irish debut

The four-year-old was making his debut for the trainer having previously run in France, and Walsh ensured that he was going to make the race a test of stamina in the prevailing heavy going.

Well backed favourite Don Cossack sat in behind the leader throughout, but as the tempo increased from three out, he was unable to quicken.

He was comfortably held in second when capsizing after the last flight but thankfully he and jockey Davy Russell were unscathed.

It was left to Busty Brown (8/1) to fill the forecast spot.

Sky Bet have priced Pont Alexandre at 8/1 for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Willie Mullins "He could be anything, he's a horse I love. I saw him in France in the summer and I rang my client and said to Rich (Ricci) I think I want to buy this horse."
Willie Mullins

Walsh said: "He was doing things nicely at home but you always have a little worry about them having their first run over these hurdles having not run for so long, it was always going to be a worry going in a Grade One.

"It was a good performance, in fairness to Willie he stuck his neck out to buy him and I'd say it was a good call.

"He'll be a lovely chaser. It was a brave call and they probably thought if Don Cossack beats him so be it."

Mullins said: "He could be anything, he's a horse I love. I saw him in France in the summer and I rang my client and said to Rich (Ricci) I think I want to buy this horse.

"He wasn't exactly catching pigeons on the gallops but in the last month when the ground got heavy he started to show me a bit.

"He did one bit of work this week that showed me he might be good enough and I took a chance.

"The winners' races are so good, I thought if Don Cossack beats us then so be it. He looks a real nice prospect for the future. I don't think I've ever started one off in a Grade One before.

"If we'd gone for a Grade Two or Three we would have met the same horses except for Don Cossack so I just wanted the run out of the way to find out how good he is. He showed us today.

"We couldn't see any pace in the race and he'd jumped a few hurdles on his own the other day and enjoyed it, so I said to Ruby not to be afraid to make it. For a horse having just his second run he jumped like a natural.

"We won't go back in trip but the Deloitte is two and a quarter (miles) so I might do that. He'll probably stay at two and a half and I wouldn't be afraid of three miles. It will either be the Neptune or Albert Bartlett in March

"He won't go to Leopardstown, the obvious race would be the Slaney Hurdle at Naas but I think I want to get Champagne Fever ready for that (same owner) so I might just wait an extra few weeks."


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