Jack The Bus and Andrew Lynch lead over the last on their way to victoryPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Thyestes aim after Jack The Bus defies his years
It's easy to overlook that it's only two runs since Jack The Bus won the 2010 Troytown Chase at Navan. At the ripe old age of 12 he clearly retains plenty of enthusiasm for the job as he carried top-weight to a convincing victory in the Foxrock Handicap Chase, despite giving Andrew Lynch a couple of hairy moments with blunders at the final two fences.
Whatever trainer Peter Casey says after a race is hardly ever
predictable, and after nominating the Thyestes Chase at Gowran in ten days' time as this horse's next target, his mind jumped to the E1,900 fine he suffered for the late withdrawal of this horse from the PaddyPower Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas.
"I was raging over it," he said. "The ground was too fast and the lads at the track wanted to withdraw him but they couldn't contact me. I was at Michael O'Brien's funeral and I left the phone in the jeep. I was hardly going to bring a mobile phone into the mass."
Who had the last laugh? "I got me money back today so I don't give a ****!"
So Young's World option His mind may be subject to change, but Willie Mullins seems to be edging more decisively towards aiming So Young at the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, despite him putting in a very taking performance in the 2m conditions hurdle under Ruby Walsh.
The French-bred made all and quickened decisively to account for main market rival Trifolium.
"I think his best trip is way beyond this, but there's probably no other race for him between now and Cheltenham, apart from the Boyne Hurdle here next month, so we'll probably come back here," said Mullins.
"He'll get an entry in both the Champion Hurdle and the World Hurdle. I think he would be competitive in a fast-run two miles but I've no doubt that his future is over further."
Sponsor Stan James left him unchanged at 50-1 for the Champion Hurdle, while Ladbrokes quote 14-1 for the World Hurdle.
Mullins and Walsh initiated a double in the opening maiden hurdle with French import Terminal running out a decisive winner of what looked an ordinary race.
Willie's brother Tom was not to be outdone as he landed the 2m
handicap hurdle with the talented but quirky top-weight Baby Whizz under Mark Walsh for JP McManus.
"We were going to go novice chasing after this so I don't know what happens now," admitted the trainer. "I think they have to go flat out for him. He'stricky but if they go a good pace it helps him.
"He's in the Boylesports Hurdle and they'll go flat out in that, so if he gets in I would say he'll run."
It was also a day that Tom Mullins watched his former stable star Oscar Dan Dan get up close home to win the beginners' chase under ‘Slippers' Madden. The horse is now trained by Tony Martin for his mother Marie.
The last time your reporter saw Enniskillen-based owner Robert
Donaldson he was inconsolable after his Chief Oscar had collapsed anddied after winning the 2010 Ulster National at Downpatrick.
It was different on this occasion as Golden Firth, owned and bred byDonaldson, put up a good staying performance under Mark Enright to win the bumper. "We might have a look at the mares' bumper at Aintree as better ground would suit," said trainer Mervyn Torrens.