Sweeney Tunes heads for home after Mikael D'Haguenet's mistakePICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Mikael error hands easy win to Sweeney Tunes
Report: Naas, Sunday
Woodlands Park 100 Club Nas Na Riogh Novice Chase (Grade 2) 5yo+, 2m4f
AN ERROR at the third last fence by race favourite Mikael D'Haguenet gifted victory at Naas to the Paul Nolan-trained Sweeney Tunes.
Jumping frailty has been a common theme in the career of Mikael D'Haguenet and his vulnerability in that sphere once again proved his undoing, as up until his mistake the Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old was travelling kindly under Ruby Walsh.
He had just moved up to join with the leaders when he made his blunder, taking the fence fine but losing his footing upon landing. Although Walsh remained on-board Mikael D'Haguenet lost all momentum, coming to a virtual standstill, and his race was effectively over.
That left Davy Russell and 3-1 second favourite Sweeney Tunes with a relatively simple task and they quickly seized the opportunity, taking the lead and holding off the challenge of Charlie's Vic on the run-in to secure victory.
"Mikael D'Haguenet looked like he would have sluiced in, I'm just glad that the coin landed the right way up for us. He was entitled to beat everything else on ratings and he did," said Nolan.
Sweeney Tunes, who was winning his first Graded race, has several handicap entries at Cheltenham but Nolan said the proximity of this race to the festival made a trip across the Irish sea next month unlikely.
He said: "We had him entered in the novice handicap chase but he's been given a mark of 142 which puts him out of that. Running this close to Cheltenham probably isn't ideal so we'll see how he comes out of it and maybe have a look at the Irish National."
Mikael D'Haguenet completed and ran past beaten horses late on to secure third.