Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase report: Tout Est Permis enters Festival frame

Tout Est Permis
Tout Est Permis

Tout Est Permis will be considered for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup and Ryanair Chase at the Festival in March following Sunday's last-gasp victory at Thurles.

Noel Meade's grey, an impressive winner of the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan in November, took the step up to Grade Two level in his stride in the Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase - formerly known as the Kinloch Brae.

It wasn't plain-sailing for the 13/8 favourite, though, as Sean Flanagan's mount needed every yard of the extended two and a half-mile trip to overhaul long-time leader Sub Lieutenant in the shadow of the post.

The pair flashed past the line together but Tout Est Permis was called the winner following a photo finish between the Gigginstown House Stud duo.

Sky Bet reacted by making Tout Est Permis 40/1 for the Gold Cup and 16/1 for the Ryanair Chase - both of which are Non-Runner, No Bet.

Meade, who was recording a double after striking with First Approach earlier on the card, said: "I haven't enjoyed a winner as much in a long time, because I was down at the final fence and I was sure he was beaten and I couldn't believe he got up.

"The story is he wants further and softer ground as well as it was plenty quick for him. What will happen next, I don't know, but he could well run in the Ryanair. He is improving and is putting on weight and getting stronger all the time.

"We were very sweet on him today and the other horse (Sub Lieutenant) is a good horse on his day. The mistake he made was a bad one and he should learn a lot from the race.

"I'd me more inclined not to go to Gowran now (for the Red Mills Chase) as it could empty him out over two and a half miles there. I think he'll go to Cheltenham and he wouldn't run again (before Cheltenham), but I'll have to talk to the bosses first."

Meade also has Road To Respect for Cheltenham, and he added of Tout Est Permis: "He is in both the Ryanair and Gold Cup and while he'd love the Gold Cup trip, he is only six so we'll see.

"If the ground was soft maybe the Ryanair, if it wasn't maybe the other one, but that will be a decision that will be made with Michael and Eddie (O'Leary)."

JJ Slevin came in for the spare ride on Sub Lieutenant for trainer Henry de Bromhead after Rachael Blackmore had been stood down following falls in the two previous races.

Camelia De Cotte ran the opposition into the ground to record a convincing success in the Order Of St George Coolmore NH Sires Irish EBF Mares Novice Chase.

Paul Townend was in cruise control on the Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old as she took her record to five wins from six starts over fences.

The 11/10 favourite quickly built up a handy lead and was never in any danger as she strolled home 20 lengths clear of Grey Waters in second place.

Mullins was not present, but Townend said of the Rich Ricci-owned winner: "That was probably her best performance and fences have just turned her inside out.

"She has jumped out to her left a few times and in Listowel she actually went right so that's just her.

"She is a tricky ride and is not straightforward, but that was an impressive performance."

Ucello Conti benefited from the final-fence exit of Gwencily Berbas to register his first win under rules in Ireland in the Arctic Tack Stud Hunters Chase.

There was little to choose between the pair at the last, where Alan Fleming's charge crashed out to leave the 4/6 favourite to land the odds under amateur Barry O'Neill for trainer Gordon Elliott.

Samanntom was four and a half lengths away in second, with Myrons a neck back in third.

Ucello Conti, who won a point-to-point a week ago, has run in the Grand National for the last three years.

The Aintree showpiece could again be on the cards along with a trip to Cheltenham.

"He'll be entered for the English National, but we wanted to qualify him for the Foxhunter's at Cheltenham, so he'll go straight to Cheltenham now," said Elliott.

"There's still plenty improvement in him and Barry said he landed on his hind legs at the second-last and it took him a while to get going, but he was confident he was going to win and was only getting into top gear again."


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